Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Communication A Lost Art?

Technology that has been developed over the past decade is unbelievable. Our society had become mesmerized with such intriguing applications. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, we all remember the Angry Bird craze... and the list goes on and on. We can't get enough, but what's so enticing in the long run may be hindering our society.
While these apps are entertaining and amusing, they are taking away from our relationships and overall social skills.
Studies show that the average age of children getting their first cell phones is 8-years-old. In fact, more than 35 percent of children in second and third grade own cell phones. Thirty-nine percent of children ages 2- to 4-years-old and 52% of kids ages 5 to 8 have used an iPad, iPhone or similar touch-screen device to play games, watch videos or use other apps, according to a survey by Common Sense Media. The irony is that these kids are becoming more versed in texting lingo than they are in proper English and face-to-face conversations.

People are beginning to agonize with the thought of in-person conversations of any kind, or even talking on the phone. Social media and texting are replacing the telephone and face-to-face conversations. It’s less intimidating to text someone or drop a line via Facebook or LinkedIn messaging, than it is to actually hear a voice or, heaven forbid, look someone in the eye. If someone is shy or doesn’t want to sound awkward over the phone, they can send a text and have a similar conversation in written form, where answers don’t have to be “on the spot.” I agree, texting provides a level of convenience, but the fact is much of today’s new technology is threatening to make extinct what used to be innate social interaction skills.
Texting lacks personality and emotion. We all have used the little smiley faces to imply happiness but at the same time we are not emoting over the phone. We are digressing from what makes our personality unique. We’re losing cherished opportunities to practice in-person interactions that might help us to become more comfortable in meeting new people or interviewing for jobs. Saying “whatever” through text can mean everything from “I’m cool with that” to “I'm upset with you, don't talk to me.” It’s repugnant that fights even occur over emotionless text conversations when, in fact, the entire problem was probably a misunderstanding.

When I think of all the forms of communication at my disposal, I can’t help but believe that the key is in “balance”. Each communication tool has a unique benefit, and when applied appropriately can provide significant value.  However, remember to make an effort to ensure that the tools are being used properly and not being abused.