Closeness in spite of distance
50 years ago, when you wanted to talk to friends and loved ones who happened to be someplace
else, you called them on the phone. If you wanted to see them, you had to go to where they were.
Today, videoconferencing apps on our smartphones and other devices keep us in constant visual
touch with family and friends – even across large distances. We can cultivate friendships across
entire continents, even with people we have never met in person. And when people get separated
by wars or natural disasters, smartphones give them a way – often, the only way – to stay
connected. Not surprisingly, people who are fleeing from trouble guard their smartphones as
their most prized possessions.
There are so many kinds of personal closeness that the internet cannot replace. Online, you can't hug people, share the euphoria at a concert, move on a crowded dance floor, cuddle with someone during a movie, comfort an anxious person, dry someone's tears or hold a dying person's hand...