From the first time I saw a character on TV reach into their pocket and pull out a small device to connect with someone miles above, orbiting the planet, I’ve been fascinated with high-tech communication.
Not too long ago, cellphones were the size of a small bag (and very impractical), and tablets and video calling didn’t even exist. But now more than ever, we rely on technology to connect us nearly every day.
The telegraph was the first electrical telecommunications system, developed in the late 1830s. From then until now, so many different types of communication have come and gone, all designed to connect people across long distances. We could spend hours talking about each level in the evolution of communication, but besides stirring up some feelings of nostalgia, there would be no point.
In 2020, the way we connect with one another on a daily basis transitioned almost entirely to phone calls, text messaging, emails, conference calls and video calls. Wi-Fi speeds became more important than ever. Even 5-year-olds are using video calls to talk to their teachers and classmates, and patients of all ages are connecting to doctors through virtual visits. And even though it’s been difficult, some positive changes (like embracing virtual visits and telehealth) have been mixed in.
When it’s safe to get together again (and even as we’re still using technology to communicate), take time to remember the ways we’re able to be nice to each other. Smile at someone – even if it’s through your computer screen. When someone is speaking to you, actively listen. Remember to use the words please and thank you. These things go a long way, whether the words are typed or spoken.
When it comes to our communication, if we embrace being kind, active listeners, we’ll accomplish great things this year.
Jonathan Davis is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. Husband and father living in Central Illinois!
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