An essay by Rachel Shadid, 2020 Corpus Christi grad
Does technology make us more alone?
It’s a question that many individuals often find themselves wondering. Some may say that it is driving people apart. Others claim that it is an essential tool used daily, and many do not have an opinion at all. However, there is in fact an answer to this question, and it is without a doubt, the correct one.
Technology does not make the world more alone, but it brings it together. Technology does not break people apart, but it unites them as one.
Moreover, it can be extensively proven that in times of distance and separation, technology creates one of the most important principles people are constantly searching for, togetherness. Given the connectivity technology has given people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the social platforms one can use to become more interactive with others, as well as the global awareness it brings people on a daily-basis, technology is the true “glue” of the modern day world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful and unknown time for billions of people. Forced into a state of isolation, many were unable to see their friends and family, deprived of curriculars and academics, and were prevented from living their everyday life. However, these obstacles were quickly overcome from the helpful tool of technology. With over 2.2 million new monthly active Zoom users in 2020 alone, “Zoom has done everything they can to provide resources and support to those navigating the coronavirus outbreak,” says Zoom CEO Eric Yaun (CNBC, 2020).
It can be noted that the serviceable tool of technology has kept people together in a way that would not be possible without it. Whether it be students continuing their schooling, checking the news for virus updates, setting up an online call with family/friends or allowing over five million Canadians to work from the safety of their own home, technology truly brings the entire world together (CTV, 2020). To see a smiling face, to hear a familiar voice and to remain together, even when the world could not be. Humanity has technology to thank for that.
Furthermore, technology also offers a significant number of social networking platforms that allow individuals to feel as if they are never alone. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube are just a few of the many different media forms one can use to interact with others.
As mentioned earlier, many people argue that the social space technology has created has driven several relationships apart. However, this argument is far from being correct. Social media has created a sense of belonging, reduced communication gaps, created many job opportunities, and has acted as the most prevalent way to contact someone without personal information such as a telephone number or address.
Not only does social media allow people to remain connected to their close friends and family, but it also gives individuals the opportunity to contact long-lost relatives, or friends of the past. In 2014, an article written for ABC News told the story of how Facebook connected a brother and sister who had never met before. After a lifetime of wondering about each other, and more than a decade apart in age, the two were finally able to meet, stating that “we both had to hold back tears… If it were not for Facebook, we never would have connected” (ABC, 2014). This very example not only proves that the social network technology creates brings people together but proves that it can unite generations of families across borders of the entire world.
Finally, technology plays a pivotal role in keeping the citizens of the world informed, aware and safe. With hundreds of different news channels, educational websites/videos, and online newspaper subscriptions, humankind is never left alone in the dark asking, “what happened today?”
However, how does the information provided by technology bring people together? In July of 2013, the global movement “Black Lives Matter” was founded and has since gained over 26 million supporters, and over 4 million followers on Instagram (Black Lives Matter, 2020). Recently, in June of 2020, the global news shared disturbing footage of an African American man, George Floyd, being pinned to the ground by a white male police officer kneeling on his neck. Although this event was extremely upsetting for viewers to watch, it shed light on the harsh reality of racial discrimination and has allowed individuals to become more informed on important social injustices such as this one.
People want to work together to create change. They want to stand together to make a difference, and they want to fight together to achieve justice (New York Times, 2020). The reality of the situation is this: if it were not for technology and the global news informing the world of George Floyd’s death, not nearly as many people would have come together to fight racism and seek equality. Information creates awareness, and awareness creates togetherness. How is one informed? By technology.
In summary, it can be strongly understood that technology brings the world together and unifies humanity as one central nation. In the extraordinary times of the pandemic, technology was there. During desperate times of loneliness, the opportunity of social interaction is at the fingertips of millions. When there is information to be distributed, technology shares it with the world.
Therefore, not only does this paper answer the question, “does technology make us more alone” with a giant “no,” but it also proves it. After all, technology creates one of the most important principles people are constantly searching for: togetherness. And togetherness is one of life’s most beautiful gifts.
Black Lives Matter. (2020, August 28). 6 Years Strong. Retrieved October 02, 2020, from https://blacklivesmatter.com/six-years-strong/
Buchanan, L., Bui, Q., & Patel, J. (2020, July 03). Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History. Retrieved October 02, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html
CBC. (2020). Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stressanxiety.html
Denis, J. (2020, April 19). Nearly 5 million more Canadians are working from home, and many like it: Surveys. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://bc.ctvnews.ca/nearly-5- million-more-canadians-are-working-from-home-and-many-like-it-surveys-1.4903045
Mohney, G. (2014). Long-Lost Siblings Find Each Other on Facebook. Retrieved October 02, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/US/long-lost-siblings-findfacebook/story?id=26514449
Novet, J. (2020, February 26). Zoom has added more videoconferencing users this year than in all of 2019 thanks to coronavirus, Bernstein says. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/26/zoom-has-added-more-users-so-far-this-year-than-in2019-bernstein.html
photo from salesforce.com