Kevin Robert’s post on Sustaining Families through Technology

November 13, 2008

in daily life

I read an interesting blogpost on Kevin Robert’s blog (KR is CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi). He summarizes how technology has helped many families to stay together even if they are far away, to share feelings and emotions. To help keep in touch, be it through video-conference, audio, long (email) or short (sms) messages, real and asynchronous time. In a few words, it has made them more “sustainable”

It is often considered that technological innovations tend to separate the family because we’re usually told the stories that went wrong: the kid that committed suicide because his parents confiscated his Playstation, people without physical friends that rely only on who they meet online. We usually give for granted the “good” stories. Technology has empowered us in a world that has changed since our grandfather’s times. Of course the same tools won’t be useful or even necessary to everyone and they are by not means a guarantee for happiness. But in a lot of situations technology has acted as a medium to allow us to communicate or even to share our secrets, in many cases rapidly bringing down the age-barrier.

Facebook (mainly but also many other online social networks) has allowed me to stay in touch with old & new friends all over the world, and Twitter tells me what many of them are doing right now, the kind of small things you don’t call them for but make you happy to know. Through Flickr (and others, lately Facebook too) I share images from my trips and through my blog I express open some of my thoughts for discussion. Skype, and now Gtalk video, make videoconferencing and calling to virtual or physical phones an everyday activity. Emails and sms/mms are an extension of my voice and Youtube or Vimeo let me show some action. Dopplr shows me where my friends are traveling to and tells me when we have a coincident trip or they come to my city.

“Today I want to draw sustainability in another direction. Towards technology. No, not technologies that save energy or clean the environment, but familiar technologies we use everyday. Computers, email, phones and the rest have not only sped up my life, they have also hugely enriched my family life. For a start, it means we can retain close connections when we are scattered across the globe – Auckland, Rome, New York, London. I can catch up on the latest family snaps, talk with any of them wherever I am (and on video if I’ve access to the right gear), get the short version in texts and the long version on email, and of course, there’s YouTube and Skype. It means Ro can see Stella every day (well, three times a day actually!). We also have a family blog where we share what’s important to us without talking to the world.”

Read the full article here.

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