I found “Touch Someone” extremely insightful as it combined the significance of telephones from a technological, industrial and social perspective. Telephones have evolved from being a fascinating technology for communication to one of the most widely used social tools. As described in the article and seen today, the telephone industry is money-making and the technology has evolved so much so that it traverses most of the world’s most remote areas. Telephones to me are an important social tool. Being an international student, a telephone is the of the most important devices for me to keep in touch with my family and friends. Without the telephone, I would be unable to maintain my relationships even in university. Hence, a telephone to me makes me more social rather than antisocial.
Another circumstance in which people are taught how to interact with one another in a friendly way is through culture. Each culture imbibes certain mannerisms that are expected of men, women or adults. From the smallest thing such as “keep your elbows off the dinner table” to “touch elders feet when you greet them to show respect”; culture guides us to behave in a socially acceptable way according to where we come from.
Culture differs from place to place. Though certain norms are common to most cultures, some are extremely specific to a particular ethnicity and are important in being perceived as “friendly” in that culture. For example, in India we would never call our parents or any adult by their name. We would always address them as Papa (dad), Dadaji (paternal grandfather), Chachi (aunt), Nani (maternal grandmother), etc. Where as, in western culture it is acceptable to address elders by their first names.
Cultural behavior also differs between gender. In India, men and women have a clear distinction in their roles in society. This leads to a difference in what the appropriate way to conduct themselves is and thus how society teaches them to socially behave.
Sociability in cultures has to be taught, either through direct instruction or observation. People were influenced to think of telephones as a social rather than technological object through advertisements and other tools. In this way both telephones and culturally accepted behavior have to be taught. For our generation, just as we grow up with the culture that surrounds us and automatically gets imbibed in us; we also grew up with telephones as a social device and hence both the cases are similar. However, telephones have an industrial, technological and profit motivation where as the inculcation of culture is to showcase heritage, keep traditions alive and pride in one’s ancestry.