All this talk about technology and the social media has really got me thinking about how much it really is having an effect on our lives. While it enables quicker and easier access for information, communication and learning, it does not come without negative side effects. Not only may it be contributing to a shift in the way our brain and thought process works, but it is also changing the way in which we communicate with one another in our daily lives.
As I walked down Main St on my way to class this morning, I payed extra attention to all the people walking around me. Almost everyone I saw had their faces buried in their phones or their ears stuffed with IPod earplugs. As I watched them, I noticed that even people who were walking to class “together”, were not speaking, but instead were busy typing away on their smartphones. The advancements in technology and increases in social media use have allowed for people to be able to block out or ignore the reality of the world going on around them. I attempted to smile at a passerby, but my gesture went unnoticed because the other person was so engulfed in whatever they were doing on their phone. However, I won’t act innocent and say a similar experience hasn’t happened to me in the reverse way. For example, I have walked to class blasting my music and was therefore unable to hear my friend calling my name numerous times to try and catch my attention and say hi. Technology, the Internet, and everything attached to it is decreasing our communication skills and making communication less personal. Instead of your friend telling you what they are doing or how they are feeling, you may read about it in their tweet or Facebook status instead. In addition, it is now necessary to compete with technology for the attention of people. I have been in situations before where I am trying to tell my friend a story and I notice that instead of fully listening, they are reading twitter while I hope, at least half listening and paying attention to what I am saying.
Technology has the capability to suck you in, and its consequences can be dangerous. The effects it is causing and will continue to cause regarding our interactions and what/how much we pay attention to things, can have far reaching affects on our both our communication skills and relationship creation and maintenance. This, in turn, will change not only the effort we have to put into capturing the audience’s attention and keeping it, but also the way in which we converse and connect with one another. This is a perfect example of why learning about, analyzing and interpreting technology and media in schools is not only important, but necessary in this day and age.