High-Tech / High-Touch

Good Monday Morning,

Staying connected is easier than ever, today.  Those words rang true for me last week as I reflected on the amount of email that I send every day, the number of text messages that I receive, and the instant connection that I have to everyone, anytime through all of the technology devices that I have.  However, even though I have all of these means to reach out and connect, I somehow feel less connected than I have in the past and I wondered why.

I reflected on this question for the better part of the week and I think that in this high-tech always connected environment in which we live, while we’re able to connect to anyone through virtually any means, the connections seem shallow and not as deep or meaningful as they once were.  The monthly letter that arrived in the mail and was hand written seemed much more meaningful than the numerous realtime conversations that have replaced this former means of keeping in touch.  Not that letter writing is gone, it’s just not as popular as it used to be in this hurry up world that we live.  The conclusion that I came to was that it’s all about the time, effort, and thought that goes into the preparation, sending and delivery of the message – in making the connection. In other words, you care to take the extra effort to do something special.

When I first got into technology we used to talk about a notion and a time that would come which we termed “High Tech – High Touch”.  What we predicted was that there would come a time when things became so high tech that there would be this backlash and a need for reaching out and being more personally involved in things – aka “high touch”.  I think that we are now at that tipping point with the hurry up, impersonal nature of always staying connected with one another through technology that we experience today.  And, this has given rise to a culture that is lacking something – that personal touch.  Why would I want to talk to someone when I can just send them a two line email? Why would I want to sit down and hand write a letter to someone when I can send a 140 character Tweet?

Why? – Because it takes time, is more meaningful, is more thoughtful, and might just communicate something more relevant than the tweet / instant message – “Getting coffee at Starbucks.”

Have we become so hurried in our lives that all we care about can be expressed in a simple 140 character sound bite? Are we so busy in our day that we can’t take 30 minutes to sit down, grab a pen, write a letter, put it in an envelop, and put it in the mail?  I’ll make the argument that if you take the time to write a letter, a card, or connect with someone you know on a more personal level, you’ll have an incredible experience. And, not only will you have a more meaningful experience as the giver, the person on the receiving end will also experience something more, too.  And, from that, I believe, will evolve a much deeper relationship with that person.

So, while writing a letter is a simple, tangible example of the High-Touch effect that I’m purporting here, think of other ways to connect that are more High-Touch.  Buy someone coffee, lunch, visit someone at their home – “reach out and touch.”

Give it a shot.  But, don’t quit texting me!

God bless & have a great week.