Friday, 17 June 2011

A Million Moments of Closeness

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I'm a tired person. I'm often a lazy person. Sometimes, after I've struggled to feed the Lattes and get them (finally) into bed, the thought of phoning a friend for a chat sounds exhausting. All those things to say. All that listening to do. I love my friends, but there are times when we're all just too tired to even try.

An email, though, is another matter – or a quick text pointing out something ridiculous that just made me giggle. It takes a few seconds, but starts a conversation that can continue sporadically for several days. Ten years ago, I would not have been speechless with laughter over a text whilst shopping. I would have just been a lonely, stressed woman trying to buy some cheese.

NIVEA mark their 100th birthday with a celebration of closeness in modern Britain, and have commissioned psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie to carry out research about the subject.

He found that far from encouraging shallow relationships, we form good new friendships faster online than we would in real life, and existing relationships deepen. The range of communication methods available to us allows us to stay in more regular contact - and psychologists agree frequency of communication is a key component of intimacy.

Scientists have identified that 'self-disclosure' - the sharing of personal information - is vital for feeling connected. We share photographs, snippets of our lives, and photographs on social networking sites – so new technology provides us with some of the important elements we need for true closeness.

And so for their million moments of closeness campaign, Nivea are asking you to help celebrate 21st century closeness by uploading photos of you sharing a cosy moment with a friend, colleague, sibling, partner, parent or child at . Or you can look out for their road shows, throughout the UK, where the two of you can jump into a photo booth and have your picture instantly uploaded. Whether you share your photos on Facebook or at the roadshow, you’re in with the chance to win - every day, a picture of the day will be selected by psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie. The winner will receive one of 100 prizes worth £100.

What do you think? Is the internet a handy way of staying in touch, or does it give us an excuse not to see people face to face?

Viral video by ebuzzing


  1. I completely agree with feeling too tired for a conversation with friends - it's shocking isn't it?
    The internet has opened doors to friendships I would never have imagined possible so I for one, am all for it!
    I try (and usually fail) to convince my parents that it is a gift for their grandchildren to have the world at the end of their end of their fingertips.

  2. I hate using the phone so emailing is great for me. Now my mother is able to use the internet (after a fashion) it is wonderful to email her rather than have to listen to her wurble on for hours about people I neither know nor care about.

  3. i am still old fashioned in that i love a natter on the phone. but only to a few people like my sister or two or three friends.but i love how blogging and forums like mumsnet has introduced me to so many other lifestyles and cultures that i would never have known much about.

  4. I wouldn't have said that I have found more closeness from virtual channels of communication than from face to face, phone to phone. But this is compelling reading. I do feel very close to a few women I've "met" through blogs, and would regularly communicate with them through emails to follow up a theme, or just find out how they are. But isn't it all still more based on the persona you're prepared to reveal than on the persona they might discover in the flesh, becasue in reality they're seeing you also in the moments when you're not looking, if you "see" what I mean!

  5. I would never have met you without it. I think it's bloomin' wonderful.

  6. Wholeheartedly agree, I much prefer texting, an emailing, I used to leave my answerphone on permanently, so as to avoid long tiresome conversations!

  7. It's interesting. I think the internet allows us to make friends with people we might not otherwise meet; however I've found it's been hit and miss when I actually meet people over the internet as to whether I'll like them in reality or not. Face to face gives you more clues to work on than the internet ever can (even over skype). It's great for staying in touch though with old friends.

  8. Hmmm.. I'm not a very internetted person - no blog, twitter, only an ancient phone that I often don't hear when (if) it rings, facebook only to keep in touch, sporadically, with faraway friends. But I can see how I could be if I had a go, and to be honest I'm not sure why I don't.
    One thing I don't know if I could do is getting to know people through the internet - I don't trust myself to give a honest enough picture of myself... But I can see that it makes keeping in touch a lot easier, and that's all friendships usually need.

  9. I live an ocean away from my family and my childhood friends, so the internet is my only way to keep up with them, and for them to keep up with my kids growing up. My life would be a much lonelier place without that connection.

    Lovely to discover your blog via twitter by the way, now following :)

  10. I think several people make a really good point about the 'persona' element, and how much you choose to reveal.I met a woman once ages ago whom I knew online, and she was nothing like I imagined her to be.

    I think there are several things going on – including the question of how friendly you can become with internet friends (I think very friendly with some, and guardedly with others), and how much regular friendships benefit from technological contact. Some real life friends don't actually spend time on the internet (can you imagine!) so it can't work for all friendships, I don't think.


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