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

7Apr/114

Decline in Communication Skills?

Communication is an essential attribute to survival. This past few of classes have really made me think of how and why communication is so crucial—manly because we depend on people to provide love, comfort and support. Older generations have grown up developing communication skills with people by talking with them mostly in person and over the phone. In today’s generation, we exhibit poor communication skills because were focus in on communicating mainly through texting.

The video that Hannah and KP showed in class on the winky face is the perfect example of what our society’s communication skills have become. Watching the video I couldn’t help but laugh because it portrays exactly what happens in everyday life when you receive a text from someone unexpected. Text messages consists of short, concise ambiguous messages that leave the person on the receiving end sometimes wondering. This video focuses in on using a lower case letter instead of an upper case letter because it a lower case letter emphasizes informality. Also it talks about all the different types of smiley faces and how what the message behind that actually means.

Although our generation still has person-to-person communication, I would not consider it the main mode for communication amongst younger generations and ours. An in person conversation leaves no room for question about what the other person is really saying because of their facial and body expressions often aid to their words. Yet texting does not allow you to follow their facial expressions and therefore the conversation never reaches the same level as in person. What does this mean about future generations communication skills? Will our communication skills ever develop to the same degree as older generations’ skills or will they develop in a different way geared more towards technological advancements?  Communication with people is essential to survive so what change needs to happen to further the development of these skills?

Posted by jul5

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  1. I have to admit that my main form of communication is texting. This is kind of depressing for me, because to be honest I would rather have an in person convo or a phone call with someone any day rather than texting. I kind of hate texting, to me texting is not genuine at all. I can generalize that we all probably over analyze text messages just like in the “Winky Face” video. In addition you cannot tell the attitude of the sender of the text by just reading a text. I tend to be very sarcastic in my texts which are pretty hard to analyze if you are the receiver.

    Texting may be ruining our future communication skills. When looking at my parents I realize that they really know how to talk to people. I wonder if someday I will be as social as them because as of right now I am kind of shy. I think that communication develops with time and I guess we will find out years from now if texting has made us less social.

    In the future I feel like our social skills will be geared towards contacting with people via technologies. Who knows maybe someday our communication will be like it was sometimes in the TV show “Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century.” In this show they were taught by a teacher through a live hologram. I sometimes wish that all technologies for communicating with people would go away and the only way we could talk to someone would be via snail mail or in person. I think these forms of communications are very genuine. But to my disappointment this will never happen, technology for communication will continue to progress.

  2. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a vacation to a place without cellular and television service, but from personal experience, it’s an interesting change. My family has a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains about an hour from cell range, and the first day of every week I spend there is very bizarre. There are trees and sky and wind and critters and streams and…. silence. No beeping, ringing, vibrating, anything. At first I always feel like I’m missing an arm or some other important body part, but that quickly turns into the most liberated feeling in the world. Evenings at the cabin are spent building bonfires, stargazing, watching for bats, and playing cards around the kitchen table – activities that I would guess at least 85% of American families don’t engage in on a regular basis, but ones that are important in really bringing my family together. In a July 2010 news report, University of Minnesota professor Heather LaMarre spoke about the stresses of taking technology, and how constantly checking email, phone calls, and text messages on vacation can cause more stress than if you had stayed at work. When taking – and constantly using – tech devices on your family vacation, you decrease the quality of the time spent with family. Obviously devices like cell phones and GPS units are useful, but like everything else, too much of a good thing isn’t good at all. With all of the stressors present in everyday life as it is, more people should consider taking a trip to service-less areas, or just a break from constant connection. It’s much easier to hear someone when the only other noise is silence.

    News Report: http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/technology-affecting-vacation-getaways-july-1-2010

  3. I learn so much from you guys! 😉

  4. What constitutes person-to-person communication? A phone call is filtered through technology just the same as a text message. A letter is just as impersonal as an email, and skyping from five hundred miles away allows for most of what conversation does from five feet away. These mediums do often leave a lot of room for interpretation, but so does any communication. You have more evidence to work with, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will come away understanding each other. As a guy I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I have been talking to a girl and thought we were on the same page only to find out we had just had completely opposite conversations with one another. So much of our conversation is based on innuendo and suggestion there is always room for interpretation, especially between people coming from slightly different perspectives, like males and females.

    It is important to remember the advantages of modern forms of communication, too: speed and distance. In person communication is great, but we can only talk in person to people within a few feet of us. A text message or email can be cross in seconds the distance that would take a letter days, or if this is a pre-industrial age letter, years. Which form of communication leads to more misunderstanding: a text that can be replied to and clarified instantaneously or a letter that was probably no longer up-to-date by the time it was received. Our generation might not know how to talk on a phone, but we don’t necessarily need to if that is no longer how people communicate. I don’t know how to leave a calling-card either but I highly doubt that this hole in my knowledge will come back to haunt me.
    Communication isn’t zero-sum either. I think it was Mark Zuckerberg who once said something to this effect. There is no finite limit on communication. Maybe percentage-wise we are spending more time on impersonal communication but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are talking in-person less. I’m sure all of us have someone who we were close with that no longer lives near them. Now, with facebook, we can keep in touch with old friends we probably never would have talked to again without it. I have a daughter, and she lives 500 miles away from me. Years ago, I would only get to see her when I was back in Michigan, but now, with skype, I can see her and talk to her face to face, even though I am nowhere near her. In no way is Skyping her the same as holding her in person, but it is something. Technological communication may not be as valuable as in-person communication, but it helps.


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