Seminar in Composition A blog for Annette Vee's section of Pitt's SC

17Jan/113

A Connected World?

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?

Posted by SrInAStrangeLand

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  1. The growing use of social networking sites like Facebook enhances communication by easing long distance relationships but also encourages shallow encounters among friends via wall posts. Posting on a friend’s wall requires little effort; therefore, often I am more likely to send an acquaintance an update on Facebook rather than exert further energy and pick up my phone, risking a potentially awkward or uninteresting conversation. Therefore, Facebook helps me to remain in communication with friends who live across the country, or whom I have not seen for years. In this respect, Facebook enhances my social life and communication skills.

    At the same time, Facebook can also cripple relationships when a few words written on a friends wall substitutes as a face to face encounter or an important telephone conversation. Typically, Facebook wall posts do not extend further than exchanging niceties every so often with friends. While this could help to nurture relationships, more often than not it takes the place of more meaningful methods of communication.

  2. The increase in electronic communications has greatly increased within the past couple of years. Everything is now available right at your fingertips if you need it. I feel that the increase of electronic communications such as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype have been very beneficial for those seeking another form of communication to someone far away rather than snail mail or the phone. I feel that this benefit of communicating with people far away is not a justification for the negative effect that these communications are having on our society.

    I feel that all of these new forms of electronic communication have a negative effect on the way we communicate with others. Now it is so easy to friend someone on Facebook that you would never talk to in real life. Also, it’s much easier to Facebook chat with someone rather than call them up on the phone and have a real talk with. I sometimes wish that I had gone to college thirty years ago when they had to use snail mail and room phones to communicate; to me these forms of communication are more sincere. I can see where there statistics are coming from about how the number of phone calls is up but the time spent on the phone is down. I know that whenever I get off of my phone I usually say to the person “text me later.”

    Also, to some people Facebook is a way of life and people say nothing is official until it’s Facebook official; for instance, most people aren’t considered together or in a relationship until it’s on their Facebook. Overall I think that these new forms of electronic communications are ruining the way we communicate with people in person and it will only get worse from here on out with the new technologies being developed.

  3. People using Facebook and text messaging have been escalating rapidly. In a world like today, most people are able to access a computer and a cell phone. It is available to everyone at anytime. This convenience of technology allows us to communicate with people that you haven’t seen for a while, live too far away, or just people that you see everyday. Its simple, its fast, and its convenient.

    However, I feel that electrical communication has a negative effect on how people talk. Instead of going out of their way to talk to someone, people tend to use online communication since it is more convenient for them. Facebook comes in very handy when it comes to getting to know a person you just met. You search their name and add them as a friend. Now you are friends on Facebook. Its that easy. But “Facebook friends” does not mean that they are your friends in real life. You will know them but you won’t know who they are in the inside unless you actually talk in person. Thats why i believe that face to face communication is the most important step to improving relational skills. By talking face to face you can understand emotions better and find out their personality.

    Electronic communication is fast and accurate but once you post something on like a blog or Facebook, it is there forever. It can never be erased completely (like we discussed in class). I feel that electronic communication has made people more impatient compared to the people in the past. For example, right now, if you ordered a package, you could track your shipment and estimate what time you got it. And you usually got your package in less than one week. But in the old days, you could not check where your package was and had to wait longer than a week. However, people now still complain if they get their package a day late. Same goes for text messaging. Even though you receive their texts in less than ten seconds, people get mad when their message fails to send. In the past, people had to wait for days to just get a mail. These are some reasons why I feel that electronic communication is making people impatient.

    So are people really becoming more impatient because of the increase in electronic communication?


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