Touch Me, Not Machine
Touch Me, Not Machine
  • Kim Chung Jinyong / Reporter
  • 승인 2011.03.07 23:42
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Touch function has existed for a long time.  Only personal usage has a short history.  It was mainly used at museums’ guiding machines, banks’ automatic teller machines (ATMs), and public certificate publishing machines.  However, touch screens have broadened from public usage to the general people’s everyday life.  One example is ‘Daum Road View’ which you can easily find at a subway station.  People can find various kinds of information on the street, by just one simple touch.  Not only public machines, you can easily find touch functions on personal machines.  Aside from smartphones, electronic dictionaries and Mp3 players also have this function.  The Samsung Haptic phone, which was the first touch phone in Korean society, was the highest priced phone, but its popularity among people was high as its price.

Touch, then It Reacts

Now, it is possible to meet the world by just one touch.  If you hold a smartphone in your hand, it seems there is nothing that is impossible.  Checking mails and doing Social Network Service (SNS) for sure, but also, you can find famous restaurants near your place, control the mosquitoby releasing sound waves and apply for University courses.  The usages of smartphones took a part in accelerating the SNS’s popularity.  Compared to the past, by Twitter, and Facebook, we can meet a broader range of people so easily.  It is quite a common case that complete stranger apply to be your friend in the Facebook world.  If I approve it, then I became a ‘friend’ of someone who lives at the other side of the earth.  Jang (21), sophomore of Department of Political Science & International Relations, said, “At first, it was a little bit embarrassing, but later, I thought it was an interesting experience, to be friends of someone I don’t know.  I felt like I became a global person.”

The Lonely Crowd

People say by using smartphone and SNS, their relationship sphere has become very large.  However, when their window toward the smartphone’s virtual world opened, at the same time, another window toward the world around them closed.  It is common scenery, that people in the subway or bus, most of them holding smartphones or Mp3 players in their hands, their two eyes fixed on a small monitor, and two ears closed by earphones.  People are cutting off all their surroundings and concentrating on their own world.  Kim (25), senior of Seoul National University of Science and Technology, said, “Several days ago, I fought with my girlfriend, because of my smartphone.  While I was meeting my girlfriend, I couldn’t take the smartphone out of my hand.  My girlfriend finally told me to please concentrate on the one sitting right in front of me.”


People are plunging into the virtual world, and they have became ignorant to others and places where they exist now.  People hoped to enlarge human relationships by just one touch.  This hope was partly achieved. However, people are still lonely.  Actually, the popularity of touch comes from this.  Oh Chang-sup, Prof. of Department of Design, Konkuk University, said, “By improvement of digital technique, people were buried in the virtual world.  At the same time, people dreamed of real rendezvous.  This dream makes people to be attracted to something touchable and sensible.”1  However, relation made in a virtual world is not close and intimate relation.  In 2009, the New American Dictionary selected the verb ‘unfriend’2 as this year’s word, and this is a good example.  Think of several people who you can tell they are a true friend.  The first rendezvous and process of being a true friend wasn’t as easy as just one touch.  If you want a true and beautiful rendezvous, how about taking your eyes off the small monitor and ear-phones from your ears?  After that, touch precious people and feel their warmth.  This is how you make relations.


[1] Koo Dul Lae, 「Touch by Touch」, Hankyoreh 21, 2008.04.17

[2] ‘Unfriend’ is a verb used in social network like Facebook, as removing someone from list of friends



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