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by Kim Lance, associate publisher of Online Dating Magazine

Use Technology to Connect, Not Disconnect!

We are living in a very exciting age. Technology surrounds us and is a central part of our work, education, and home life. Now, more than ever, we rely on advancing technologies to help us with day-to-day life as well as the more complex tasks. We also rely heavily on technology to communicate. Every day we send voicemails, e-mails, text messages, and instant messages. We enter chat rooms, talk on our cell phones, post comments on social networking sites and even talk with each other over web-cams. With each new advancement people can be brought closer together, even if they are miles apart.


However, there is also a downside that can occur in the midst of all this advancement. Many people run the risk of relying to heavily on things like email and text message to communicate, causing a lack of person-to-person interaction. Basically, if you aren’t careful and aware, the technology that was meant to further connect you to your loved ones can have the opposite affect and disconnect you, drawing you apart.

Technology is a wonderful thing and can greatly help you stay in touch during times apart, but you have to have a balance between high-tech chatting and good old fashioned one-on-one communication in order to make your relationship (whether a friendship, family relationship, or romantic relationship) stay strong and connected. Because I think communication technology is wonderful and should be used to the best of its possibilities, I have listed below three easy ways you can use new technologies to help you stay connected with friends, family and loved ones. But I have also included some words of warning about relying too much on those methods and forgetting about in-person contact, along with helpful ways to keep that from happening.

Three Ways to Use Technology To Bring You Closer Together

1) Hook Up a Web Cam
Are you in a long distance relationship? Do you hate missing out on watching your little niece growing up? A great way to stay connected to long distance loved-ones is for both of you to get web cams. Using a video conferencing service or Internet phone service like Skype, you and your partner, friend, or relative can not only talk with one another, but also see each other’s facial expressions. There is nothing like seeing the smiling face of your boyfriend or girlfriend or the instant physical reactions he or she has to something you say, especially when you have to spend time apart. A web cam can help bridge the gap that distance can cause and fill in the missing connection that phone conversations can leave.

2) Email Every Day
Sending out a quick little email to someone during the day is one of the easiest ways to give them a little boost and let them know they are in your thoughts. It takes all of 2 minutes to type of a quick “I love you” and send it out, so why not do it every day? After a while it will become a couples ritual and your partner will look forward to his or her daily connection with you while you both are away at work. This can also be great for lonely family members or long-time friends who live far away from you.

3) Take Full Advantage of Your Mobile Phone
Cell phones have come such a long way in the past couple of years. They are no longer just a portable telephone. Cell phones are now a full interactive experience! You can send messages, take and send out photos and video, store and play music, and even check email or surf the web on some models. Stay connected with those you love by taking full advantage of all of your cell phone’s options. Send photos of areas you visit while on a trip so that your loved one can see what you are seeing, send video messages to say hello and brighten someone’s day, program a special song to ring every time your partner calls and, most importantly, don’t forget to call your loved one once in a while on it too!

A Word of Warning
Connecting through the use of communication technology is great, but make sure you don’t use it in replacement of face-to-face interaction. While email is a wonderful convenience, some people begin to rely on it as a primary source of communication. This can cause a disconnection between people. Email, texting, and online chatting can never fully replace in-person chats and there is nothing that can take the place of hugs and physical tenderness. If you have the opportunity to talk with someone in the same room, do it! Utilize technological interaction as a bonus to increase your communication, not as a replacement.

Added Bonus – Surprise with Snail Mail!

Here’s a hint – every once in a while, write a letter to a loved one. Because email is so common and convenient, nobody writes actual letters anymore. You will make a strong impression and show how important your loved one is to you if you send him or her a letter or card occasionally out of the blue.

The Next Connect Column
My Connect column will be going on break with me for the summer, so my next column won’t appear until September 7, 2006. Until then, I wish you a great summer and very strong connections.

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