Heard from Jack Recently?
In this day and age the vast majority of the Western world uses the internet on a daily basis. We all do it. We keep in touch with one another electronically.
There was a time when we used to physically visit each other, sit down face to face over a cup of tea or coffee, maybe a beer and something to eat and spend a pleasant hour or two catching up.
Way back then – which wasn’t all that long ago, because of our physical trips to each other’s homes, we tended to keep an eye on each other. If one of us got ill, we could call on our friends for assistance. Perhaps we could take each other to the doctor, or maybe run an errand, do some shopping, mow the lawn. The point is we truly cared for one another.
Whereas today, the closest we get to spending time together is via the ether. Yes, thanks to the various forms of instant messaging we remain in touch, but… What if you live on your own? What if you seriously get ill? Think about it for a moment. You are in your own bed, too sick to move, or perhaps gravely ill in a hospital ward – in the worst possible scenario – at death’s door. Your computer and mobile phone are out of reach. Can either of these inanimate devices alert your friends? No!
Increasingly these days people of a certain age like myself, rarely if ever set foot outside their own front door for fear of being set upon by young thugs. So we stay behind locked doors. Often, our only contact with the outside world is the daily visit of the postman, or perhaps the paperboy shoving a newspaper through your letter box. Some of us use the internet. I use it for ordering my groceries each week as well as keeping in contact with my friends who are spread far and wide across the world. If I suddenly stopped ‘chatting’ to them, what would they do?
Each day when I go online, I know that my friends are still alive by the posts they make. They in turn know I’m still in the land of the living for the same reason. I go on Twitter and Facebook each day, first to show I’m still breathing, and second to share something. Most days I post to my blog.
The highly impersonal way in which we now interact leaves a lot to be desired. How long would it take I wonder before my ‘friends’ began talking among themselves online, asking the question “Has anybody heard from Jack lately?” Would they care? Would they try to find out what had happened to me? The internet is a wonderful tool. But it is no substitute for physically visiting a friend.