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Nov 18 / Elliot Darvick

Closer: David & Sarah

Welcome to the latest post in our Closer series — a look at how technology brings couples, family, and close friends closer. David and Sarah are siblings that grew up together in New York City, went to the same university, and now live on opposite sides of the country (David in San Francisco and Sarah in NYC). They are three years apart and both still in their twenties.


Unbucket: How does technology bring you closer?

Sarah: I think technology brings us closer both just through talking on the phone all the time and catching up on the phone — and also on Facebook. Even if we don’t talk every week, there are pictures posted and people writing on our walls. It’s an easy way to know what going on even if we’re not speaking.

David: I would say you’re very good, Sarah, about that “quick keep in touch” – like you sent me an email yesterday of a funny video. I clicked on it and laughed and sent you a text this morning. We do sort of the quick, email or text message in between visits which keeps us close. Sometimes we’ll have a good forty minute phone call, and of course whenever we see each we have a great time and really bond. There is definitely no replacement for the older forms of technology like phone calls and seeing each other in person.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s true. But with what David was saying, my sending you a video the other night, a YouTube video that made me think of Dave — stuff like that is a form of technology that isn’t necessarily about communication but it made me think of him, which in its own way, does bring us closer.

Unbucket: Do you think the technology you have available to you today would have changed the way you related to each other when you were growing up together?

Sarah: Maybe it would have brought us even closer? We kind of hung out in different crowds in high school and did different things, but we didn’t have cell phones –

David: That’s so polite! That’s the nicest way of saying you were so cool and I was absolute dork! [Laughs]

Sarah: Shut up! [Laughs too] I wasn’t that cool. Anyway, I feel like if we had cell phones at the time and were able to text each other, maybe we would have seen each other more in a social atmosphere rather than just at home, although I don’t  know if that’s true. What do you think Dave?

David: Thinking back though to when we were growing up, it actually worked to our advantage that technology wasn’t so pervasive. We had all that time to hit each other in the car on the way up to Connecticut [both laugh]. It was part of our developing a sibling relationship. I actually think it was kind of an equalizer that we were both in the same car with family. If you had Facebook and I had Facebook, you’d have all these friends to talk to and I’d be, I don’t know…on some science thing! [Both laugh again]

Sarah: I guess it’s hard kind of to answer the questions because growing up we were so face-to-face. We had a relationship where we saw each other every day, so I don’t know that we would have used technology, like to text or call, because we saw each other every day no matter what. We kind of took that for granted. Now we really need technology to stay in touch to know what’s going on in each other’s lives because we don’t see each other all the time.

Unbucket: In the past five years, have you ever sent each other a letter?

Sarah: Like a hand-written letter? Aside from a birthday card, um…

David: Yeah, I would say probably not.

Unbucket: As a society, do you think technology is bringing us closer or driving us apart?

Sarah: I think as a whole it brings us closer. I mean it’s really easy to stay in touch with people and to get support for things. I’m thinking about after Hurricane Sandy when so many people relied on reaching out to each other for places to stay and showers. I even have a friend doing a community service charity event to raise money for victims in his neighborhood – he’s from New Jersey and people were hit really hard there. All of that is going on via Facebook, Eventbrite and Evite. In that sense, technology does bring everyone closer. It’s really easy to rally people together because now there are all these accessible vehicles to do so.

David: I was initially not sure what I was going to answer, but I think I agree with you Sarah. I think overall, technology does bring us closer together. For keeping in touch with people from your past where you can now see the goings on in their lives, technology is really incredible. These are people that you knew from a face-to-face relationship, for instance, from college, and they may not be people you call all the time, but you can Gchat them or even see pictures of them on Facebook. All this just makes me feel closer to people — but only when I’ve had a relationship independent of technology beforehand; I feel like that’s when technology is best at bringing people closer together. People that you meet primarily through technology and without meeting face-to-face, I feel like in those situations it’s really tough to get closer and feel social cohesion, except as you were saying Sarah, the times when technology unites us together around a singular cause.