iKnow… iThink? – Keeping it Real


By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin

We seem to be living in a new techy “i”world.

People are spending a lot of time with their advanced technological devices such as an ipad, ipod, iphone, tablet, androids, and living in their ihome.  iiiiiiiiiii   just don’t know.  I am wondering how much we have actually advanced as humans by having these new technologies?

I understand the importance of communicating in this fast information age.  I understand the need “to know” and the speed in which information is transferred.  What seems to be lacking is the importance of the ilove.  Is humanity being lost in the translation?

Is simply being together, speaking to each other, and sharing time with people lost?  Is it more enhanced with all our new technology or has it been reduced?  iwonder?

At a recent dinner, I noticed that the dining table surface suddenly included many cellular phones.  Each dinner guest placed their cell phone next to their cutlery.  During the dinner, these cell phones received frequent glances and for some, the messaging was constant.  The questions to iself were, “Who are these virtual guests at our dining table? Who is communication with you? Why is this happening, now?”

This activity was terribly disheartening as it was destroying the humanity of simply being together.  Why make the effort to get together with people and then share this environment with virtual people? Is this considered, irude ?

I understand that access to information is critical especially for parents who need to stay in touch with their children. Cellular phones are a huge aid when communicating in this manner.  Or, perhaps a phone call or an email is pending and expected during the dinner hour.  I get that too… but casual communication via the cell phone is just not necessary.

So, it’s your birthday and it’s time to celebrate. Did you hear some people wishing you well and/or did you receive an ecard?  Was it a text message you received? Here’s a long shot, did you received a birthday card in the mail?  That’s a super long shot!!!  Did you receive an email wishing you well or a bunch of “likes” on your Facebook wall? Did any of this fulfill you or did it feel flat lined? Did you feel some ilove, the real love, or the virtual love? How does this make you feel?

Have we become more muted because we have become more itexty ?  Have we lost the use of real language?  Did you feel more comfortable not speaking, but speaking your mind virtually?  Perhaps I’m just “old fashion” and not grasping the modern changes.  I’m not sure.  Inevitably, I hope to someday be old fashion! 

With all this added technology, I try even harder to personalize my connections. I try to maintain the “touch” difference.  Basically, I try to have the “last touch”.

What does it mean to have the “last touch” or should I now call it the itouch ?

After getting together with family, friends, or colleagues, I made an effort to communicate my gratitude in having been with them.  This is what I call the “last touch”.  Sometimes when we part, I will run back to the person and actually give them a physical last touch.  This is simply a reminder that, “Yes! You are important to me!”  This simple last attempt to personalize a meeting of any kind will make people feel appreciated and in some cases, loved.

Make an attempt to express your gratitude.  This can be in any form such as a phone call, text message, email, or an actual real old fashion stamped letter.

In this quick techy world, we need to take the 2 dimensional factors out of our humanity and replaced it with 3 dimensional love.  Personalize whatever you do in how you communicate. Put back the love into the ilove.

Make the difference now or perhaps we can say inow !

Here are some suggestions in bringing back 3 dimensional humanity.

  1. Limit the use of your cell phone when you are with other people. Give it an ibreak!
  2. Really look in to a person’s eyes when you talk or listen to them.
  3. A hand shake, a pat on the back, or a high-five is a physical connection, do this.
  4. Listen intently when someone speaks.  Really hear what they have to say and pay special attention to their body language.
  5. Use your voice to communicate. You will communicate better and more honestly.

Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column. 

She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real.  Please visit her website  www.suzannereislerlitwin.com  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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