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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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TOUCH: Can the senses of the South Pacific be recreated through social media?

The sense of touch has to be the greatest challenge to relay through social media. As I peer out at the sea from the starboard side of the ship that is now plowing through the South Pacific, I experience the warm and sometimes cool saltwater spraying across my eyeglasses and face and I can’t even begin to imagine how one could possibly share the sensation of touch through social media. This sense of touch and feeling is evident in newly encountered experiences that include the soft silk of rays dancing around and over my feet, the smooth but still rough textures of native tapa cloth produced from indigenous tree barks, the rough feel of pandanus leaf bracelets and intricately woven mats, the smooth hardwood tikis carved with geometrically beautiful patterns of long ago, the warm coral sands seeping between toes as I walk on stretching and seemingly undisturbed beaches, and the warming heat of intense sunlight baking the skin. These sensations can not currently be duplicated through social media and I wonder if they ever will be.

Even more difficult to imagine is the sensuality and connection of human touch. I have connected with many people who live differently than that to which I am accustomed. The warmth of embrace and the squeeze of hugging is overwhelming as new friends are encountered. The traditional kisses on both checks from those of the Polynesian culture influenced by the customs of the French colonists are warm and peaceful. We are one world and we appreciate the honor of sharing life’s experiences. Will this need for human touch ever be satisfied through social media? I doubt it… and I hope not.

Friends on the MS Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific

Friends on the MS Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific

Bora Bora bech combers.

Bora Bora beach combers

Les Gauguines on the MS Paul Gauguin

Les Gauguines on the MS Paul Gauguin

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