Effects of Technology on Relationships

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Yana Feldman
Professor Ebersole
Analytical Reading and Writing 0802
November 2, 2010
Advances in Communication and Intimate Relationships
Instant digital and online communication of the modern world influences love and courtship in relationships. The generations of today allow their interpersonal relationships to be formed and shaped according to the technology that is offered. This is one of the many important matters that are influenced by technology. Technology is manipulating the world with positive and negative effects; it causes scientific advancement, it affects the economy, and importantly, it changes communication between people. This change can be seen in intimate relationships. To see how communication technology has changed love as a whole, one can observe how technology has changed different types, or stages, of intimate relationships. Three possible stages are an early dating stage at which flirting and courtship occur, a marital stage in which commitment is vital, and a long-distance relationship in which a couple is temporarily separated. These stages of relationships have changed in history and will continue to adjust according to society and, of course, technology.

Communication has continuously been evolving ever since language existed. Language gives the distinctive ability for the evolution of human society. Language starts at the basis of spoken words; information is conveyed through conversation aloud or written in forms of letters. Efficient communication has involved written messages even in the earliest of civilizations. Since 522 BC written messages were sent between people in the Persian Empire. For a message to travel 2000 miles, it would take 10 days for a man on a horse at a speed of 200 miles per day; clearly, there were no other options or methods to send a message such a long distance. Until much more recent centuries, the only way to speed up the transferring of a message was to speed up the messenger himself. In the 11th century messages were sent slightly faster using pigeons (Gascoigne 1).

As a next big step in the 15th century, the new technology of printing was invented. It spreads so quickly that every European country soon uses this new invention. The invention of the telescope in the 17th century allows for optical signals to be sent across a longer distance (Gascoigne 1). The application of electricity to enable communication did not come until much later in the form of the static electrical telegraph in the 18th century. Another long time passed post-telegraph telecommunications technologies before the speaking telephone would be invented (Winston 28). But by the time that Queen Victoria had ended her reign in 1901, the telegraph also left its greatest days behind (Standage 1).

Distant signaling by voice appeared only 2 centuries ago—a very recent advancement considering how long communication has existed (Winston 33). The telephone was invented in the late 19th century—within 20 years, 2 million telephones existed in the United States. “During Queen Victoria’s reign, a new communications technology was developed that allowed people to communicate almost instantly across great distances, in effect shrinking the world faster and further than ever before. A worldwide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionized business practice, gave rise to new forms of crime, and inundated its users with a deluge of information. Romances blossomed over the wires” (Standage 1).

Finally, the 20th century brought the inventions of the radio, television, and internet into human society; another influential invention was the famous cellular phones. These inventions spread to all parts of the world generously and quickly. With internet abilities, electronic mail became an option, and soon a preference over post mail. Instant messaging, text-messaging, and video chatting are all continuing to spread. Additionally, the convergence of...
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