The world has changed

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." 

~ Barbara Bloom

Today has been utterly devastating because of the natural disasters that have occurred in Japan, which have rippled across the Pacific and affected other countries, too. Like with Michael Jackson's death, the stakeout of gunman Raoul Moat, the uprising in Egypt and the recent quake in Christchurch, I also learnt of this quake and subsequent tsunami through Twitter before I heard it from a 'traditional' platform. 

Twitter have reported that more than 1,000 tweets per minute were made from Tokyo earlier, with people in Japan uploading YouTube videos to show the world what was happening, almost immediately it seemed. Times have changed.

Once upon a time, before 24-hour TV and the proliferation of the internet, we would have had to wait until the evening news, gaining more information in a newspaper the following day. We would have relied solely on foreign news agencies to supply footage, but we have become mobilised and because of that we know now, in the moment, as it happens, from the people it is happening to.

Once upon a time we would have had to wait until an appeal was set up to phone in our donations or go in person to our bank to make one; again, technology has made this immediate. We can help now. We are reliant no longer on bank opening hours and call centre times, but can donate even whilst the disaster is still taking place.

Once upon a time we would only have had our friends, family and colleagues to talk about these events with - mentioning it whilst making a cup of tea at work, commenting on it in a weekly phone call to a loved one - now we have the world at our fingertips. We can converse with people we don't know, have intelligent discussions, share our sorrows, or simply shout out a kind message of hope, a prayer, to those affected. 

The world has changed. There are some people who say that the internet damages "real-life" relationships, a recent study citing that 57% of us spend more time talking to people online than we do in real life. I don't think this change is a bad thing. Our world is shrinking as we become more connected to people, we now have a voice and we can stand by the people who suffer, offering our support. We've gained more insight, more perspective, and I'd say more humanity with these technological developments. No longer can we shut our eyes to what's happening in the world because it's physically thousands of miles away - out of sight, out of mind - or because those in power control what we see and read. We may not know the true horrors of today's heart-wrenching natural disasters but we have still, in a way, experienced them alongside those affected. No longer is it just our governments or our charities that can show support on our behalf, we can show it for ourselves as individuals.

Our increased shared humanity will, I feel, one day prove beneficial beyond what we ever could have thought possible a mere decade ago as this crazy world plays itself out - whether those are natural disasters or man-made incidents that make us come together even more so than we already are. The scenes of devastation today have shown the destructive side of nature, but equally the kindness of the human soul with the support that has been given. How can technology really be said to be destroying our humanity when it brings us together in this way?

My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected today. x

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