I wanted to share this Ted talk with you (HT: Marc Payan), How the Internet enables intimacy by Stefana Broadbent. The description of her talk is:

We worry that IM, texting, Facebook are spoiling human intimacy, but Stefana Broadbent’s research shows how communication tech is capable of cultivating deeper relationships, bringing love across barriers like distance and workplace rules

In light of my post yesterday, Can You Be “Fully Present” Relationally If You Are Tweeting In Your Wedding, Church Service and Marital Intereactions, I wanted to present this side of the coin.

I do believe that technology can enable relational intimacy (you can read my thoughts on “ambient intimacy” and “ambient awareness”.

CAVEAT #1: I think the distinction that she is making and what others are saying is that technology can enable intimacy when people are not physically present, but harm/prohibit intimacy when people are physically present. There are exceptions for sure.

In my own experience, the reading of my wife’s tweets throughout the day when I’m not able to be physically present with her or talk to her on the phone can create a relational intimacy. But when I get home to her, and continue to tweet when she is actually there in my presence, it can create a barrier. It may seem subtle at first, but can have lasting ramifications on how we interact relationally with one another–or more important, how the other person perceives the interaction. Does that mean we never tweet around each other…no. But it does mean we have set boundaries around our technological use in order that our relationship has primacy over it.

CAVEAT #2: It does not matter what you think/how you perceive the use of technology relationally, but more importantly how your partner perceives it. For example: a husband may think twittering is fine while out at dinner with his wife, but if his wife does not feel the same way, then it is a violation of their relational interactions. Out of respect and submission to one another, we must seek not just what we want, but what our partner in our relationship desires as well.

Check out the video:

What are your thoughts on the use of technology to enable intimacy? How can technology benefit intimacy? How can it inhibit intimacy?