Technology simplifies tasks, speeds up business transactions, and improves efficiency. Does technology also ruin personal communication?
The United States Postal Service reports an overall decrease in pieces of mail handled of approximately 208 billion pieces in 2000 to 177 billion in 2009, with a record high of 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006 (http://www.usps.com/postalhistory/PiecesofMail1789to2009.htm).
A December 2010 article in The Economist shows that while the United States' average phone call use for mobile phones has risen, the use of "fixed" lines and the average time of phone calls have both dropped significantly from 2004 to 2009 (http://www.economist.com/node/17797782?story_id=17797782&fsrc=rss).
The market analysis company Nielsen's October 2010 factsheet shows that text messaging among teenagers rose 8% in a year, while voice usage dropped 14%. The factsheet also shows that total voice usage has decreased in every age category below 45 (http://t.co/ExqeTOq).
Facebook's "Statistics" webpage cites over 500 million users, with a total use of over 700 billion minutes per month (http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics).
Are the simplicity and convenience of texting and Facebook improving global networking or harming relational skills? How has the increase in electronic communications impacted communication, and how will it continue to affect communication? If the impact is negative, does the global reach of technology justify that effect?