Covering Egyptian Unrest

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Generations today are experiencing a new wave of interpersonal communication. Currently, with the rise of online communities, communication has shifted away from traditional modes of interpersonal communication that have long been based on face-to-face models of interaction, to a more digital approach to maintaining and establishing relationships. Modern communication and interpersonal connectedness is now both fostered and mediated by the communicative tool itself: the computer (Hoffman, 2007).

While the goal is to allow people to interact socially, these sites cause their members to become computer zombies, wasting away countless hours in front of the computer monitor. With people spending too much time socializing through cyberspace, their personal social skills suffer. It is far easier to talk to someone over messaging on their favorite social network site than in person, where you have very little time to take things in and react. People are relying too much on meeting people online these days than by face to face. Why is this a bad thing if people are still interacting?

As with social media, the Internet has been viewed as one that may endanger the individual and society at large (Kraut, Patterson, Lundmark, Kiesler, Mukopadhyay, & Scherlis, 1998; Putnam, 1995; cf. Rice, 2002).

When one area of public communication suffers, all areas do so as well. One loses the skills to meet, interact, and maintain a conversation with someone in public, and overall interaction and social skills suffer. So if one have a presentation to perform in class, one may not feel comfortable speaking in front of your peers because you are not used to speaking to people face to face.

Social media has drastically changed how we communicate. Today, interact through the Internet where a plethora of social media tools has redefined communication (Barnett.A.G).

Such a redefinition has had an enormous effect. The entire paradigm of social media has altered the basic rules of communication, especially Interpersonal Communication. The one-way Communication methods of the recent past—business- to-customer and business-to-business—have been replaced by a more robust multidimensional communication model. That model is collectively called social media (also referred to as Web 2.0).

The use of the Internet is viewed as detrimental for individual psychological and social well-being and, as such, for society as a whole. A sociological oriented approach is provided by Putnam (1995, 2000) who states that the increased use of new media technologies (i.e. television and the Internet) resulting in increased privatization of leisure time, not only decreases the degree of participation in society Kraut et al.(1998) state that increased use of the Internet leads to less social involvement and less psychological well-being.

In the same manner social media and interpersonal communication is displacing real life interpersonal communication. The trend is more common in youth specially students of universities mainly due to their easy access to social media and know how to use it.

Another way in which the social media networking phenomenon is shaking things up, is by making new spellings and fresh abbreviations a much more frequent occurrence. Crystal David, (2001) argues that the Internet has encouraged a dramatic expansion in the variety and creativity of language. Covering a range of Internet genres, including e-mail, chat, and the Web, this is a revealing account of how the Internet is radically changing the way we use language.

Languages have always evolved, but the rate of change has apparently quickened substantially. To take Twitter as an example, the idea that thoughts can be compressed into 140 characters is likely to change the way some people think. Since the invention of words, people basically think in words, and restricting the number of words we can use is likely to encourage brevity in...
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