EN 101 07
Technology is continuously altering the way we communicate with one another. Emails, text messages, and Facebook posts seem to have replaced a handshake or the warmth of a love one’s voice on the phone. The world today is dominated by speed. We are searching for the quickest way to get somewhere, the fastest Internet, or the speediest way to relay a message. As a generation it is questioned if we are losing our ability to communicate efficiently. My own personal experience following a close observation of my means of communication suggest that technology has not negatively affected my style of communicating with others.
Communication is more than a conversation or interaction with others. Communication is not only expressed in words but in our appearances. Body language is a key indicator of communication. A person can automatically tell if a person is approachable by their posture, arm position, and position of their head. A person standing straight with relaxed arms and facing their surroundings will be more approachable than a person slouched over with folded arms staring at the floor. Although they may seem minuscule eye contact and clothing affect the efficiency of communication. It would be very difficult to have a meaningful and purposeful conversation without eye contact. Instead the person would be confused and side tracked by an inability to be looked at while spoken too. Clothing or a person’s general appearance says a lot about their willingness to interact face to face with others. Students walking around campus with headphones on may seem less approachable. Clothing also plays a role. Someone who is dressed confidently or presentable may appear to be more social than someone still in pajamas, sippers, and a hat covering their face. In places such as Boulder it is easy to distinguish who falls into what category. Which students body language and outward appearance seems to welcome people to their table rather than students engulfed in their laptop and headphones.
Technology plays an active role in our daily communication with others. Emails, texting, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram allow us constant connection to others. Technology causes us to communicate differently through smart phones, laptops, etc. but also while in the presence of others. At lunch with friends you can talk about your day but not without a scroll down the Facebook newsfeed or visiting Instagram’s popular page. Technology allows us to interact formally and informally. Emails allow communication fast and efficiently in the workforce and more casually between friends and family. Facebook allows people to be connected in a tremendous way. It is remarkable how close it can bring people to together, old friends, distant family members for example. But it is also ironic how it can keep closer people away. A person might focus more on John Smith’s Facebook status than the conversation they are having in person. The various outlets of communication blur the line of what we are comfortable saying in person verses online. With the new flood of Facebook, Twitter etc. has come the era of cyber bullying. Personally I have noticed that a Facebook post or a tweet at a friend is a casual hello or thinking of that person. What I am saying is not in depth or of great meaning. With technology, especially communication online or over text message a person is not able to fully communicate their message. Body language and tone of voice is a huge indicator of what a person means or how they feel. With the use of electronic communication I noticed I do not trust my message to get across correctly. If it is a text to grab lunch then impersonal is fine, but a conversation that is in-depth is better communicated in person or on the phone.
To unplug from all electronic communication in this day and age is rare occurrence. Although only an hour without my phone, laptop, Facebook etc. I had some mixed feelings. I noticed that it was easier to finish a homework assignment without the distraction of Twitter, but I was bothered when I couldn’t text a classmate with a question for the assignment. Dinner without my phone was enjoyable; I was able to focus more on what the person was saying and not a constant buzzing. Unfortunately, I was also late to dinner because I hadn’t received the message it was moved up fifteen minutes. I realized I related to myself a little more, although I don’t think a second opinion with the help of my phone could do much harm. My hour without electronic communication was quieter, allowing myself more time to reflect on my thoughts. Although I enjoyed the limited distractions I didn’t like not having any form of electronic communication. When I FaceTimed with my mother that evening I realized how grateful I was for electronic communication and the opportunity it gave me to remain close to people far away. I learned from this exercise that is important to have a balance between electronic communication and time without it. Emails or Twitter do not need to be checked at a dinner or while speaking to someone. But electronic communication is fast and effective and helps people’s daily lives in a tremendous amount. It is important to use the benefits of communicating electronically but not to forget the quiet time necessary for the self-analysis part of your day.