Last week I downloaded a new mobile phone application from the web, and with mobile predicted to soon become the main source of Internet access for Australians, I’m guessing a lot of other people did too. This Internet app is an absolute winner– I feel hungry for Japanese food, I point my phone in front of me and turn in a circle to see every restaurant in my vicinity, in every direction. I want to buy jeans, same thing. Get petrol, same thing. This app single handedly replaces the old phone book, and even Google maps and provides a service that goes beyond what either of them ever did.
All these advancements are exciting, and not only that, they actually do make life easier. Between new apps that do just about everything, skype that lets me talk to my family face-to-face across the world and doing my groceries or work online, we’re getting to a point where we almost don’t need to leave the house. But living like this changes a society, and no matter how hard it tries, with skype or avatar likenesses that allow us to explore whole worlds based on the web, it can’t replace, and likely won’t fully replace, a few basic human needs and actions.
We can LOL all we want, but three letters typed into a computer are never going to replace a real laugh, in response to a real story, in a real life environment. There’s a reason people meet over the Internet — and then meet face-to-face — because that real human interaction just can’t be replaced. It is vital to the social part of ourselves and while skype is a good interim, true interaction is a necessity.
Stop And Smell The Roses
I can’t think of the last time I saw a sixteen or eighteen year old in our local florist picking up some flowers for a date, a girlfriend or even for mum. Why would he, he can replace that with a 50c text that shows a picture of flowers. But while flowers are partly about gesture, the gesture is comprised of the beauty and the amazing fragrance. And though the flower emoticon might get a short smile, nothing will replace real flowers or other fragrances that then become associated with a person or a memory forever.
It’s All About Taste
I recently started ordering my groceries online and having them delivered. I’ve actually even ordered in some sweets and delicacies from abroad that I fell in love with while away and now don’t have to give up, thanks to the web. But while I can order food online, I can’t taste it. Like flowers, sending an image of someone’s favourite goofy treat is different than them having a chocolate filled gift basket in their hands and ready to devour.
A Helping Hand
Again, the likes of skype have made the gap between one side of the world and the other much smaller, but something every human being needs at some stage, is real comfort. If a loss has been suffered, or there is pain or illness, an email or an instant message doesn’t offer the same sort of comfort a real person in front of you can.
So while my app is brilliant, and I will be running around the city pointing my phone in front of me like a metal detector looking for gold, the Internet won’t quite take over my life just yet!