It has been suggested that the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time.
It certainly helps with purchasing decisions on the devices we choose to navigate it on.
We do our research online and then hit the stores up to see, feel, taste and smell (well, maybe not taste and smell–those senses do not necessarily translate to the online world), the devices in person.
But is the ability to taste and smell (I don’t mean a smoking computer logic board, either) on the Internet in our lifetime coming? I do not see how it would be possible.
Our virtual worlds cross over into the real world all the time.
Some things, like job searches, although facilitated by the Internet, still require good old personal touch points—a la going to prospective employers’ places of business to inquire about job opportunities.
Whether you are trying to find a job locally or on the other side of the world, you will not get very far unless you have the ability to make an in-person visit for at least a meet and greet at some point.
While Skype software permits certain companies that are progressive to conduct cyber interviews, many companies are still not there yet. The interview piece of the new hire process is typically done in person.
Speak these two words and listen to how they sound coming off your tongue and out of your mouth.
While we pay our bills online, favor texting instead of actual phone calls and submit our resumes into the online ether vacuum, we would be well served to remember these two words.
We can do a lot of things online but the lack of human touch will always be something we should keep in mind when it comes to the extent of the wonder and fulfillment that is the Internet.
We want to stand out whether it is in person or online.
Our web sites are designed with this intention, especially those e-commerce web sites that are our livelihoods. We wisely go to great lengths to incorporate a compelling social media presence into our business online image.
But again, as good visually and interactively as some web sites and Facebook pages are, they remain lacking in terms of a human touch point.
I will grant you that videos can be interesting and make you think. But with the onslaught of YouTube and streaming media, this medium cannot take the place of the touch point, especially when our 15 minutes of fame on them has been reduced to 15 seconds; a YouTube video is like how a bus used to be: another one comes along every minute.
The human species and everything that is alive for that matter, craves touch.
For all that the cyber world was, is and continues to be for us, this deficiency in actual touch will always leave those who create opportunities for actual in person face time as the folks who are happiest overall. You cannot be all-in isolationist-wise and largely bereft of engagement with other human beings, if you are serious about leading a rewarding and fulfilling life.
But I like the Internet—I found my partner in life as well as a good job I love going to every day. Both of these life staples I initially discovered online.
The deals were not sealed however until the tires, as it were, were kicked in person.
Bits of data, zeros and ones hidden behind a what-you-see-is-what-you-get graphical user interface will not ever supplant the thrill of a last first kiss, or a warm handshake from a co-worker welcoming you to your new job.
The Internet is indeed a wonderful invention. We need to keep in perspective, however, its limitations and its ability to suck us away from the touch we must regularly have.
The world we live in: smaller via electronic connection, yet larger in scope, depth and grandeur when complemented by touch.