When can we hug via Skype?

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How often do you receive a letter? Not from the bank, not some food shop’s weekly advertisement – but a real handwritten letter from someone, who wants to send you a regard or tell you the latest news of their life? For most people it happens rarer than it did just 10 years ago, and the mailbox is starving for personal letters. We communicate in another way; the electronic way. E-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SMS etc. allow us to send free, quick messages no matter how far away the other person is.

The sister of my grandmother emigrated from Denmark to Australia with her family in 1958, and the journey lasted for weeks. Today it would only last around 24 hours. When they finally arrived ‘down under’ it was possible to make a quick and very expensive call to Denmark to let their relatives know how they were doing. All contact between the family members in the years that followed was a couple of letters each year. My grandmother never went to visit her sister’s new home; this would be way too expensive.

Nowadays we have a number of different ways to communicate with each other even though we’re far away. Except for the physical contact you can communicate as often and as freely with your friend in San Diego as with your neighbour. Making a call on Skype or sending an e-mail only needs an internet connection and will reach the other person immediately.

Hence it is not a cliché when we keep saying that the world is getting smaller. Friends or family leaving to Australia, China or South Africa do not disappear – they are only an internet connection away.

The technology doesn’t substitute the intimacy of giving a hug or holding a hand, but it makes it easier to travel or even live abroad since you can keep in contact with your relatives at home. Thank you, technology!

[Dansk]

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