Before the invention of the telegraph in 1844 by Samuel Morse a message traveled through the body’s oral cavity and right into the earlobe. Today individuals communicate via email, social media messaging, texting, and types of technology that avoids instant responses and the anxiety of being in the presence of another person. The approach of communication has changed a lot due to technology.
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With the great increase in mobile technology and smartphone usage comes the question of how communication has been negatively changed as a result. Millennials have grown up developing communication skills with people by talking with them mostly in person and over the phone, they have had to rewire their lives when technology boomed all over the world. In today’s generation, we portray poor communication skills because we are focusing on communicating mainly through texting and social media.
In an Atlantic article, A New Kind of Social Anxiety in the Classroom, Alexandra Ossola reveals the idea that younger children have been using certain aspects of technology to avoid the building social skills. It has been debated that some smartphone owners go on their phone to avoid certain aspects of everyday conversation. After a while, people become accustomed to looking at their phone to communicate, rather than talking with someone else in person. This habit can make people feel uncomfortable with talking to others in person, and disrupt the connection and bonding that could have been. Alexandra stresses the importance of communication among society, we each need to feel a sense of belonging. With the growing technology businesses and corporation, the need to connect in person is slowly fading as you can now reach out to someone with a few clicks of a button.
Along with Alexandra, Rachel Zahatis also shares her opinion regarding the decline in communication in the Chicago Tribune article, Technology ruins communication. She believes solely in the idea that, Human beings are innately social creatures and we need to continue to stress the importance of stepping away from the screens long enough to make connections with others. This issue of turning to smartphones in any spare moment leads to the problem that smartphones cause with everyday conversations. People become less accustomed to focusing on the present and lose sight of the importance of face-to-face communication. When people develop the habit of taking out their phones at any free period, they lose the drive to communicate with people in person because the vast capabilities of the device are more stimulating than the conversations. Once communication is lost, connections are lost.
Rachel Zahatis also stresses about communication within the workplace. There are managers who ask for a text message reminding them of an event or to change an employee’s availability. Facebook groups that are created for swapping shifts discourage any personal conversations with my co-workers outside of the workplace. I have even had managers communicate with me via Facebook about work-related issues. There also is an extreme discomfort to interview for a job because that would require long conversations and interpersonal communication skills. Outside of the workplace, communication is even worse. We, as a society, have become so dependent on cell phones, text messaging and social media that we do not even know how to connect with friends. One-on-one conversations are terrifying and phone calls are absolutely taboo. If one does venture out of the technological bubble for coffee with a close friend it is a sure-fire thing that the cell phone is sitting face-up on the table, right next to the cup.
We walk through this world with our heads down. Immersed in the technological realm, we disregard the real. We converse with our hands rather than our mouths, tapping keyboards and touchpads to the rhythm of our thoughts.
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