Introduction: Technology in the XXI Century
The pace of the progress that the humankind has made in the XXI century is truly unbelievable. Known as “accelerating change” (Brown 24), the given phenomenon has created the environment in which lifelong learning has become possible. However, the sharp increase in technological progress comes at a price.
Because of the increasing use of new technology, including social networking, mobile applications and various programs allowing for distanced communication, people are gradually losing the skills of live conversation, which will doubtlessly have a tangible effect on the quality of their communication in the future. However, it cannot be denied that new technology allows for a plethora of opportunities in terms of business and economy, which means that the use of new media will only be enhanced.
What Stands in the Way of Live Communication: Statistics
Social networking: the “great evil”
There is no doubt that social networking is the least fortunate simulation of live interactions. According to the official statistics, 665 million people use Facebook, and 288 million more socialize via Twitter monthly (Bullas para. 10-11). Older people prefer communicating via Facebook, Twitter, and other services of the like instead of talking live (Bullas para. 7). Moreover, being mobile, the given media is also widely used by businessmen and students.
Cell phones and iPhones
It would be wrong to claim, though, that the “invasion” of technology into people’s private lives started only several years ago. It is logical to assume that the concept of distanced communication was introduced with the advent of cell phones, which facilitated distanced communication even in the cases when it was not actually needed (e.g., for people living on different floors in the same house). In 2013, 818.4 billion people were using cell phones, which was a 60.3% increase in the number of users compared to 2011 (Bullas para. 7).
Skype and the related programs
Skype and other similar programs have made live communication even less popular. While not being a perfect substitute for live communication, such programs are the closest that one can get to the actual real life conversation when using a computer program. While Skype is mostly used by the people who cannot talk to each other otherwise, it slowly ousts live communication between people who actually can meet and talk in real life. As researches show, people spend 27 min/day on average talking via Skype (Skype Table 2). While the given number if not the reason for concern yet, Skype is clearly becoming more powerful as a communication tool.
Positive Aspects of the Technological Breakthrough: Connecting People
It would be wrong to claim that technology has solely negative effect on people’s communication skills. New media is admittedly efficient in developing new skills in its audience, such as ability to critically evaluate information, have several conversations via a computer program at the same time, etc. However, the price that new media users have to pay for these skills is way too high.
Conclusion: Reconsidering the Impact of Technology
Judging by the fact that in 2014, even less people communicate live, technology has clearly contributed to the deterioration of people’s communication skills. The key problem with the new media is that it does not allow for recognizing the elements of nonverbal communication – at least, not as fast and efficiently as live communication does. While modern media has admittedly taught people new communication skills, it has clearly taken its toll on people’s ability to communicate in real life. The solution to the problem is rather simple, though; people have to learn to enjoy live communication more than they like exploring the virtual realm.
Brown, John Seely. “New Learning Environments for the 21st Century: Exploring the Edge.” Change 83.2 (2006): 18–24. Web.
Bullas, Jeff. “21 Awesome Social Media Facts, Figures and Statistics for 2013.” JeffBullas.com. n. d. Web.
Skype. Skype Statistics. 2012. Web.