About 4,000 years ago, humans developed their first means of non-face-to-face communication with the discovery of smoke signals, and then, about 2,500 years ago, drums. For the first time, people were able to connect without being in physical proximity to each other.
Then, around 1835, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, setting the stage for the greatest period of technological development in history that, in a relatively short time, transformed our lives dramatically. The telegraph was a clear precursor to the Internet and the telegram was an early iteration of email.
Mobile phone technology emerged for commercial use with the car phone around 1979 and progressively evolved to the present, where mobile phones are now considered an indispensable part of our lives.
In 1994, the Internet was introduced to the public and it has arguably been the single greatest leap forward in communication technology in recent history, enabling the instantaneous transmission of data, documents, still and moving images and voice. It has created a veritable torrent of technology that has given us the Web, email, text messaging and an array of applications; for example, Facebook, Twitter and Skype, that have dramatically altered the way we connect.
This brief and, admittedly, incomplete history provides a little perspective on how we arrived at the present.
What did all of these communication technologies have in common? They incrementally enabled us to connect with other people and access information in more rapid, easy and less costly ways. And each advancement changed our lives in ways manifest and subtle, direct and indirect, predictable and unexpected. Connectivity may be the most powerful tool in our lives today, with cultural, economic, informational, political and social impact.
Although it’s now easier than ever to connect in a myriad of different ways - via phone, text, email and social media - personal relationships between people are somehow more strained and less frequent. This is further compacted when attempting to form romantic relationships using relatively new mediums of communication.
In the early stages of dating, every subtle nuance or change in tone helps two people banter and form a rapport. However, when all of that is reduced to 140 characters, the intimacy is lost, and, as a result, people feel detached. With as many dating apps as there currently are, surprisingly, there isn’t much dating actually happening. People swipe left and right for hours on end, but never actually meet the people they fancy.
However, there are some apps out there making strides, emphasizing actual, in-person interaction from the get-go. Case in point: Doppler Social App. What differentiates Doppler Social App is its interactive heat map that allows users to see the most socially active areas in their city. Doppler Social App connects people through shared interests of trending venues and events, focusing on current and future locations, eliminating the never-ending swipe-fest and encouraging real meetings. This refreshing approach, which may seem radical to us now in the age of Snapchat and Instagram, thankfully brings everyone back to basics. Because, to be honest, true emotion can never be experienced through the click-clack and tap-tap of keys.
So, I challenge all of you tech-junkies (myself included) to acknowledge that while it is convenient to text instead of call and Tweet instead of meeting for coffee, being part of society means interacting face-to-face and forming genuine connections with the people around you.