Times Have Sure Changed

By Safie M. Gonzalez

Immersed in social media.

HAVANA TIMES – A few months ago, I had the chance to meet a very unique person. An intelligent, professional young man, who works in the world of the arts, so it wasn’t hard to get on with him.

He soon told me he didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, or anything to do with social media, which struck me as it’s not very common nowadays.

The age of technology, and a virtual space, has invaded our homes with progress. How much did we Cubans long for the chance to connect to the Internet? Whether it was for our kids or nephews and nieces’ schoolwork, of just so we could have another way to get hold of information immediately.

For those people, like myself, who have a query and at the speed of “quasi” light, we have the answer, nothing could be better. While it’s true that some sources aren’t trustworthy, we pretty much always come to the end of our search with a satisfactory response, and we only need to type a couple of words and Google gives us the information we are looking for.

However, it’s also true that ever since “being connected” came into our lives, interpersonal relationships have taken a backseat.This technological age has come along to dazzle us with its lights and colors, which is capable of transporting us to anywhere in the world via our screen.


It’s not that I want to swim against the current, thanks to this connectivity I am able to write these words and you can read them from wherever you are. However, that isn’t a reason for me to ignore the fact that what we have gained with these advances, we have given in space to personal solitude, to individual smiles, shared with happy emojis.

The time we used to dedicate to our loved ones, to our friends, has slowly been replaced by a “smart” device.

We didn’t use to have cellphones or Tablets, but we were very happy, playing hide-and-seek in the backyard, or climbing a tree. I think about this every time I see my nephew entranced with this damned device.

This is why I could do nothing but rejoice, when my unique friend told me this, convinced that he would be more present in our “in-person” conversation than all of the exciting paraphernalia that social media can provide.

Safie M. Gonzalez

I was born in the 80's. I love nature and animals, as well as my country. I admire the sacrifice of a people. I consider myself a simple and honest person, therefore I detest injustices. I have a taste for the arts in general, but especially for literature, photography, and cinema. I believe in the power of the word and in the ability of the human being to change the world.

5 thoughts on “Times Have Sure Changed

  • Stephen, you failed to note that President Donald J. Trump never lies, he just makes heavy use of “alternative facts”.

  • “Times Have Sure Changed”, certainly no one would dispute the title of Safie’s article and how social media today has drastically changed society.

    In your biography you state: “I believe in the power of the word . . . .”. In the past and I mean the historical past before social media’s intrusion into every aspect of life, “the word” actually meant what a writer wrote it to mean, or a speaker spoke it to mean, and the words written or uttered were considered true.

    Today, all that has changed. Words written on a computer, tablet, phone, screen can come from anyone, anywhere or even be manufactured on a computer via algorithms and anyone reading the words would initially consider them to be authentic. Only background research can verify what has been stated as true or not. And, because in our fast pace society where time is of the essence, background fact finding is rare.

    A prime example of that is Donald Trump‘s usage of words. Isn’t he the master of theTwitter sphere where he writes words in a very limited word count and in his mind he considers his words to be sacrosanct. Many professional fact checkers to his plethora of Twitter tweets (words) consider anything he writes (more often than not with spelling and/or grammatical errors) are either complete lies or manufactured nonsense for edification for his loyal followers.

    In the past very learned journalists wrote well researched articles in paper based newspapers, magazines, books and the general population read the information written knowing it came from a reputable source, it was truthful and followed the rigors of academic writing.

    Today, in the vast ocean of mass media those same journalists come under tremendous scrutiny and are vilified for their written word. There is no need to fact check what they have written or to scrutinize their submission thesis because popular politicians, and popular culture have rendered journalists in general as professionals not to be trusted, they have a hidden agenda, or may simply be so well versed in writing well that those critical do not have the intellectual capacity to understand the writing; hence, the ill informed write it off as trash, or to be politically correct: “fake news”.

    Yes, words have power to such an extent those same words can be abused, used strategically for political purposes, and misinterpreted. In the past we had “news”. It was believed to be true. Now we have “fake” as an antecedent negating the value of “news”. When elites in society begin to manage words in nefarious ways, we all need to be vigilant.

    Words do indeed have power when written and spoken in truth whether in person or, today, on social media.

  • Estimado Sr Kellner
    Gracias por sus palabras. Es bueno saber que hay alguien más con un nombre tan poco común.
    Son ciertas sus palabras. No es tanto el internet sino las redes sociales las que nos atrapan. Y el hecho no es negarnos a sus existencia y a sacarle provecho, sino, no dejar que se vuelva el centro de nuestras vidas, como sucede mayoritariamente con los adolescentes y jóvenes de hoy en día.

  • Safie,

    My grandaughter is named Safira and now Safi for her nick name. She is about 25% Cuban heritage through her abuelita.

    You are the first person I have seen with a similar given name.

    Like your friend, I have resisted the temptation of Facebook and all of the other socials. But, I have been with computers and mobile phones from their beginnings.

    I hope you keep up writing for Havana Times

  • What an interesting commentary on life in Cuba today. I can tell you that I remember upon arriving in Cuba for the first time in 2005, that cell phones for Cubans were illegal. Access to the internet was only in tourists hotels at dial-up speeds, and owning a DVD in your home put you at the top of the economic ladder. Now, only 14 years after my first experience in Cuba, I read a credible article about how rare it is in Cuba today for someone not to be connected to social media. The Castros resisted opening up Cuba to the world every bit as much as the worst dictatorships anywhere in the world. It would seem that they have failed miserably.

Comments are closed.