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A eulogy for personal connectedness, in a time of technology

They say technology and social media is bringing us closer every day. But MBALI NJOMANE doesn’t think so.

We thought your friendship could endure separation and reach long distances unharmed. We meant well. Little did we know that in our desperate efforts to immortalise you, we were slowly killing you.

I only wish that in the end we had not kept you alive by artificial means, wiring you to every kind of new technology. Ultimately we had no idea when you had died.

It has been quite a journey, old friend. You have suffered long and hard. Sadly, we continued to abuse you as you slowly withered away.

It started when the sweet anticipated savour of a long awaited phone call or a letter was cheapened by instant connectivity. As we closed the gap on time and distance, so we closed the door on closeness.

Bonds were imitated by devices, conversations shallowed by short messages. We began to live in digital images, brushed and edited with sepia tones. Conceit paraded shamelessly in self(ie) portraits, and narcissists amused themselves in status updates.

Human interactions were lifeless. Moments that once breathed the air between us now suffocated in video calls. Labour that poured from pen to paper grew lazy at our fingertips. Emoticons mimicked the flesh and blood in our faces.

We queued online to request friends, hung dirty laundry in news feeds, and bore our souls to faceless followers – all while dining with our laptops, holding hands with our phones, and blushing at memes as we gazed into  screens.

Virtual intruders crept into our private moments and slowly stole you away. Modern communication had killed you but we had buried you.

RIP Personal Connectedness, our lost companion.

Mbali NjomaneMbali Njomane is a Xhosa girl from the Eastern Cape, born and raised in Johannesburg. She dropped out of law school to become a social entrepreneur. She’s still on her way, but has taken a detour to write – mostly about the idiosyncrasies of human life. Mbali would like to build her office in a tree.
– Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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