Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen:
I, like most members of my generation, am deeply involved in the computer world. I use Facebook, RENREN and Microblog constantly. I tend to believe that the “real world” is the one I’m attached to through the Net.
But my roommate disagrees. She maintains that the reality on the Net is illusory, and chatting with peopleon line actually increases the distance between people. So I began to wonder: “Is it true that with the help of modern technology, people are really becoming more isolated, not closer? And does technology allow us to avoid the effort involved in true attainment?
I began my inquiry with the idea that maybe it comes down to a matter of generation. I grew up with the computer and I'm the kind of person who would panic if my computer stopped working. But I became acutely aware of my shallower immersion when I began to teach my little brother how to use the computer. He fired me practically before I started; he could immediately tell through his questioning that I knew less than he did.
But my grandmother is impressed with me. (My grandparents live in a different city.) Once, while visiting them, as I was video-chatting with my friend on Skype, my grandma came to sit next to me. She peered over and the moment she grasped what I was doing, she exclaimed 'I want to learn this too so I can talk to you and your mum!' Within an hour, she learned how to use Skype. Now, I can always video chat with her and my Grandpa. We just do mostly small talk. But, more importantly, I enjoy seeing them on my laptop in real time, knowing that they are healthy and happy.
With my grandma, the Internet didn't separate us. I already loved her more than anyone and, if possible, it brought us closer. True, we communicate more online, but our mutual love hasn’t changed. And so I realized that real feelings precede any technological convenience.
But consider the following: on my Facebook page I have many “computer” friends constantly leaving messages and uploading pictures. I have the illusion that I'm surrounded with people upon whom I can depend. But that's not true. When I'm feeling sad or anxious, I still go to the friends I have known since high school. These are my true friends.
I took the TOEFL exam last year and I was wondering: “Which is more difficult? TOEFL paper Based Testor TOEFL internet Based Test? Is there a difference between the two? Apart from saving paper, is it easier to type the exam on the screen than write it on paper?
In preparing for the TOEFL iBT, I studied hard. I spent endless hours working on my pronunciation. I fought weariness, reading and learning vocabulary. In doing so I realized that the effort required in learning a language has not changed. Advanced technology cannot substitute for hard work.
The world is becoming easier to negotiate because of rapid technological change. But social networks cannot bring you more real friends. Keyboard and screen cannot totally reduce the sheer ‘grunt’ work involved in learning English.
What doesn’t change with technology are our humanity and our need for involvement. Technology is surely a tool, helping us to achieve our goals, but it cannot substitute for feelings, live interaction and the effort involved in real achievement.