Last night, full of other human connection intentions, I did the quick pre-button off, what’s-happening-in-the-rest-of- the- world channel surf. More than an hour and a half later, Pistorius was released on bail; my lover was snoring and I felt completely unsatisfied. Or did I?
Intrigued and saddened about the contentious global state of drugs and lifestyles in sport, a spark ignited in me and I wanted to know the outcome live, as it happened. I felt somewhat uncomfortable, almost voyeuristic, and CNN and Sky News – to nominate just two television stations – were in live competition with Twitter. Increasingly a sport in itself, this presented another dilemma. Who to watch; should I choose to multi-task or sustain focus? Who will break the news first: TV or Twitter?
Normally, when I want to find out about current events, Twitter is my first port of call. Television and radio do not compete with the instantaneous, spontaneous feeds and reports, photographs and stories shared in real time from the ground via Twitter. #Fires, #floods, #tsunami warnings, #earthquakes, #cyclones, #royal weddings, #births and #deaths; the #Pope’s resignation, #climate change debates and the benefits of #chocolate. Topics can quickly trend before they are trending topics. Most critically, when it comes to information that helps to keep us safe (as in the case of #fires), Twitter leads the race.
Until last night.
Judge Nair condemned the media and it’s propensity to intervene in the protocols of justice, consequently banning live film coverage of the bail decision proceedings. Viewers, listeners and followers speculated and valid reporting efforts were challenged. Biased commentary and interpretive perceptions fed television and Twitter reports and retweets. The new sport was unmistakable.
The lure technology affords to stay abreast of global events never ceases to amaze me. The ease with which we judge others baffles me. However, last night I learnt two significant things about humans, human connections and human communication:
- Curiosity and intrigue are driven by opposing personal motivations
- Compassion, care and connection is what makes us so
Humans connect in different ways. This represents the multiplicities of our oneness; the diversities of our species. To concern for another human being is a common natural state (for most I would like to think). To connect, care and display compassion for one on the other side of the globe has never been easier. Technology affords connections with palpable dimensions. No! I hear you shout out: technology can never replace human touch! And, I agree. But how incredible it is to connect with others through e-platforms and emotions, extrasensory perceptions and the ether; means and motions dreamt of only a decade or two ago.
Last night, I also learned a third thing:
Twitter and television raced to a dead heat
As Nair announced his decision humans around the globe heard it live. There appeared to be no delay in the telecast; if there had been Twitter would have released the decision first. Reports, tweets and retweets came in at the same time as television announcements. A first in recent experience. Equality I was curious to observe.
Tonight I intend to balance the books. I shall not channel surf when a human touch is on offer. I will level the playing field. However, I am extremely satisfied that the hour and a half I invested in connecting with others across the globe last night, through technology – television and twitter – was well spent. Not only did this remind me of the vulnerability of us all, but that expectations, dreams and disasters are live to us in every moment.
How do you touch technology to connect with another human being?
Love to hear your thoughts.