Thursday, May 17, 2012
I've had several different conversations with friends lately wondering about whether our ability to communicate is being eroded in the texting/e-mail/Facebook messaging/G-chat/Skype/direct messages/can on a string era.
We have more tools for communication than ever. Social media makes it possible to instantly know what our friends are up to and even see when they're nearby. We share books and articles and TV shows and ideas faster than ever before.
But it's also just as easy to let the absence of communication take the place of an actual conversation. Instead of having to let someone down easy over the phone, now we just don't return their e-mail. Instead of having difficult conversations, we exchange some texts and leave it at that.
The idea that technology is eroding our communication skills isn't new, and the introduction of the telephone and television were accompanied by similar hand-wringing. But what are we losing?
One of my friends believes that social media strengthens weak connections but weakens strong connections. My mom believes social media insulates people from having difficult conversations and everyone is getting worse at them. I believe I may just be getting old.
What do you think? Is social media eroding or strengthening our ability to communicate?
Art: Junge Frau am Telefon - Max Schüler