I found myself surprised when I realized how technology has completely replaced face to face interaction. The cellphone can be a great way to check in with each other and call your parents but the majority of people consider their phones: their lives. Before doing this assignment I had friends that would cry if their phones broke or have nervous break downs if they couldn't find it. I will admit that I have been stressed over losing or breaking my phone … but it is not because its "my life" it is mostly because of the cost and inconvenient process it takes to get a new one. Phones have turned our generation into a society where appearance is a way of communicating and one can find out everything they want about a person online. Communication is lost and "Undercover Language" has arisen.
I mainly communicate with others face to face, for the exception of my friends who are at different colleges and my parents. On a daily basis I wake up to my phones alarm, go to class and rarely take my phone out of my pocket until class is over. Usually then I check my group message on my iPhone. My group message consists of seven of my close friends from Loyola. For me this group messages is a good idea because it is a way to address problems or announce important information at a quick and efficient rate. Besides my cell phone, I have an iPad and a Macbook that I use frequently but not daily. Almost always I use my iPad to watch Netflix and my computer for papers and checking my email. Technology doesn't play a huge part in my life and I never let it hinder my ability to communicate with others. My days are spent down the hall with my friends talking and conversing. When I see them outside of class I greet them with a gentle hello and a causal wave. While walking around campus I'm not afraid to flash a smile at people I don't know or start conversations in the elevator. My body language I think appears to be friendly for the most part. I dress in sweats or lounge clothes and I wear hardly any make up. All in all I would assume I give off a sort of "carefree" vibe. I do have many piercings but no tattoos and I've never seen anyone look at my funny because of them.
For me communicating with others in person is the least of my worries. Spending an hour away from all technology was easy. In that hour I took a walk and picked up my old camera. During my walk I felt very peaceful and glad to be alone. It is scary that today everyone knows what everyones doing at a click of a button. It was relaxing to disconnect.
Unlike myself, technology for some is their main way to communicate. As a result I believe that now the majority of society relies on other aspects of their appearance to convey feelings, personality and essentially who they are. Before their were cellphones and computers you had to actually go out of your way and have conversations with people to figure out what they were like. Clothes mattered less, body language wasn't a major factor and make up, piercings and tattoos didn't symbolize what they do today. For this part of the assignment I focused on the "Undercover Language" in our society that has arose because of technology. Now that people don't need to verbally communicate, there are other ways to "speak" that come into play. For example, eye contact, body language and ones general appearance. Today when a girl and a guy are attracted to each other having a conversation is what comes last. Usually body language comes first, one must be physically attracted. Then eye contact, this hints if one is interested. Finally maybe a conversation will arise.
This idea of "Undercover Language" is not just specific to relationships between girls and guys. Along with physical attraction between two people, our generation won't even talk to one another unless they pass the basic "dress test". Its cliché to say but its true, the girls bathroom is a critical place for acceptance. While observing how people communicate with each other I found the girls bathroom to be a very interesting place. One can't walk in and avoid being looked at. Girls glance at what each other are wearing habitually, some don't even realize they're doing it. This is a example of how communication has taken a step forward … or should I say backwards. To much make up means you're fake, piercings and tattoos might scare people off and brands establish economic class. When your not paying attention everyones looking at you and when you turn around everyone looks away. Girls use the mirror to have eyes in the back of their head, but don't get caught because then you'll be judged even harder.
Why not speak whats on your mind? Or say hello before you make assumptions? Communication today relies entirely on technology. Our generation would rather log on to Facebook and find out everything they need to know about a person based on a profile picture. It is now more important whats on your body then whats on your mind. Technology hinders face to face interaction and as a result, people rely on outside sources to establish relationships.
After this assignment I felt enlightened. Not only did I see the flaws in my communication skills but I realized on a larger scale all the downfalls technology has on verbal communication as well. To sharpen my communication skills I am going to capitalize on all the things I experienced during my observation. Firstly I am going to attempt to use my phone less. Second despite ones appearance I am not going to let that get in the way of me making new friends. Lastly I am going to rely less on social networkings like Facebook and twitter.
These three improvements seem simple but are looked over everyday. By putting down my phone I can have a real conversation with someone where I can actually hear their voice and witness their emotions. Not judging people based on their appearance expands my knowledge of different types of people and can also make me a very accepting person. Social networking is very unreliable, people can put whatever they want on their pages, how do you really know what a person is like by looking at a picture?
My final thoughts about this assignment is that I actually feel lucky and proud I am not one of those people who stare in bathroom, or use my eyes and body to communicate. I walk around campus knowing exactly who I am. I don't hide behind technology and I use my voice more then I use my phone. One thing I will take out of this assignment besides realizing the downfall of technology is how important it is to step back and disconnect. Though technology isn't a huge part of my life picking up my camera and taking a walk today was one of the most enjoyable things I've done all semester.