R the Interwebz Breaking All the People
#readmyarticle #itsimportant4u #whyamihashtagging
Communication. Merriam-Webster defines it thus:
Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviors
It seems pretty straight forward, right? One individual has a thought or an idea he or she wishes to share with another individual. So, we convey these thoughts and ideas using words, pictures, or even body language. We don’t even need to be present for communication to take place. We can use a sign or a symbol to get our message to its intended recipient without even occupying the same time or space they do. How we communicate varies as widely as what we communicate.
I have witnessed, over the last twenty-five years or so, a rather paradoxical phenomenon when it comes to how we interact with one another. Social media and the number of people using it as a platform has exploded over the last ten years. Our thoughts, feelings, opinions, even a lively description of what we just had for lunch, can now reach millions of people with the click of a button. My news feed is chock full of cat videos, political commentary, and status updates, often with photographic evidence, of what my friends had for dinner last night. With one click you can show everyone on your ‘friend’s list’ the new shirt you just bought and probably paid way too much for.
The paradox, for me I think, is that despite the amount of information we are sharing, and the ease with which we can do so, the quality of that communication seems to be decreasing at an alarming rate. I am lucky to have a group of family and friends that are pretty chatty on social media, refraining from the shorthand of single-letter words and emojis in our interactions with one another.
But, I see a very disturbing trend developing in my twenty-year-old son’s generation. These kids barely speak to each other unless it’s through the phone in their hands.
I picked him up from school one day a few years ago, and there he was, standing in a crowd of his friends, and every single one of them had a cell phone inches from their face, the electronic glow of LED glistening in their eyes. What I found particularly alarming, is that some of them were texting each other, even though they were standing three feet apart!
I worry that we are losing essential parts of our intrapersonal interactions. When you are engaged in a conversation you have to think and discuss critically, you can read the expressions as well as hear the words of the person you are speaking to. I believe that we lose that critical skill if we don’t practice it. It becomes easy to detach yourself emotionally when you don’t have to have any meaningful interaction.
The times change, technology changes and people adapt and change with it. But, I feel that we stand poised to lose skills vital to our humanity. How many of you write longhand with a paper or pen for any longer than is necessary to sign your name? I don’t even know if I could have written this short post in longhand, without my hands contorting into a mass of cramped and palsied fingers.
Every generation has had similar concerns and observations when it comes to those that follow, I’m talking to YOU Rock-and-Roll music, it just seems to me we are in danger of losing some vital aspects of our humanity the further we go into the future.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear.