Friday, March 18, 2011

Love in the Time of Facebook and Twitter

In the last 15 years we have seen new technologies come and go - new types of social media emerging and grabbing our attention (from instant messaging to Twitter); social networking sites (like Friendster, Myspace, etc.) seeing their heyday and then being bowled over by Facebook; the Mac going through different transformations and upgrades (Ok, Windows too, my MS friends :) ); Ipods obliterating the walkman and dominating the music player scene; from Apple's Iphones being the phone of choice to the Google Android phones recently gaining the upper hand in sales; from the regular paper books and brick and mortar bookstores being rendered (nearly) irrelevant by Amazon's Kindles and Kindle Stores (too bad for Barnes&Noble); and now the Ipads that who-knows might revolutionize the way we do work (or play) on the computer (there's now an Ipad 2!).

While one would probably use that word "love" in relation to any of those technologies, as in:

I love my Kindle!
I love my Mac!
I love tweeting!
I'd love an Ipad 2!


...and even if we use it so loosely to refer to one technology or gadget after another, there is also that concept of love whose object are not material things.

I speak of love that isn't fleeting, that doesn't wane, that may be subject to the ebbs and flows of reality, yet - always remain. There is love in the sense of 1 Corinthians 13:4, and there is that old concept of love - you know, the kind between people, man and woman - and it's interesting to look at how it's been affected by these technological changes.
In college, it was still quite a new idea to have met someone online (through chat) yet I had at least 2 friends who did meet someone through the internet and became a couple. Only one of them remains together to this day (a 50% success rate, you might say; but it's not representative, so don't keep your hopes up). When I started working, I had at least 3 friends who actually tried out (or a similar site). They all found matches, but only one of them I know ended up marrying their matches (and I haven't heard from that person since, LOL!). If you go to the US Embassy in Manila to get a visa, there is a good chance many of the ladies who will be there waiting in line with you are brides-to-be to their American fianc├ęs whom they had met on the internet.
What technology has done for us is make it easier to connect, to transmit words of affection, to profess our devotion of love. Loved what you saw or read? Do a Facebook 'Like', or a Youtube 'Thumbs up!', or Digg it, Tweet it. Got something in your chest wanting to burst out to the one you love? Any of the same modes can be used to do just that (a shot of vodka can help too, it is said). For a while we had non-internet tools like pagers and text messaging, but those have all given way to the tools of the internet. (Telecom companies reported that in the last holidays, people preferred to send their greetings via Twitter or Facebook, vs. their celfones; a decline from the past years.)

Has technology made the erstwhile torpe bolder? Only to a certain extent. :) 
Has it given the proverbial Maria Clara more leeway to let her guard down? Perhaps, with little creative use of the variations of the smileys. ;) Or status messages. Or FB Likes. 
Has it given the stalker more tools to do his/her spying? Fer sure! (Think: Wikileaks!)
The ease that technology has given us for matters of love is also true for the opposite emotion: hate/protest/dissent/spite.

Of dissent, think: Egypt.
Of protests, think: Aung San Suu Kyi.
Of hate, think: Youtube. 
(The comments there are mostly nasty, hehe.)

But LOVE... going back to love. 

Whether in the time of cholera as in the Time of Facebook - and Twitter - is the same. It requires the same faith, and commitment, and... courage. (and patience!)

And yes - love - it never ends.

P.S. Enjoy this infographic on 'Love & Hate on Twitter'.

1 comment:

  1. Good artik here! I agree with you.

    I believe, love transcends any technological platform. It's comforting to think that these gadgets help people to find love, more so, feel it.

    Today, many users treat these social platforms as an extension of their whole being, revealing themselves fully online. No doubt, love will find its way through these channels, but nothing will beat love at first sight!