Mediated Communication: Connected or Disconnected?

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Abstract:
We all seem to live and breathe social media. Sending a message and staying connected is as easy as it can get. Technology is essentially transforming traditional methods and revolutionizing the way we communicate with one another. Today, we have to stay relevant, informed, and up-to-date on the newest communication channels and incorporate them into our range of daily activities. However to build meaningful connections between people, we need to let technology enhance our communication, rather than dictate it. As new communication technological advancements become available, our temptation is also to spend less time on face-to-face interactions at the risk of losing the critical context of our message. Of course, texts, e-mails and social media can dramatically impact the speed and volume of messages, but therein also lies the danger in allowing the subtle aspects of dialogue and personality to fall by the wayside Face-to-face discussions are the foundation of human communication; once established, it allows us to build trust, clearly articulate our ideas and minimize misunderstanding. However, for many of us, face-to-face communication seems to be a dying art – replaced by text messaging, e-mails, and social media. Human communication and interactions are getting shaped by available technologies. Thus we have to ask – in today’s tech-savvy world, are we really connected or essentially disconnected? Is social media sabotaging the art of personal communication?

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On a crisp Friday afternoon last October, Sharon Seline exchanged text messages with her daughter who was in college. They ‘chatted’ back and forth, mom asking how things were going and daughter answering with positive statements followed by emoticons showing smiles, b-i-g smiles and hearts(\/). Happiness…. Later that night, her daughter attempted suicide.

In the days that followed, it came to light that she’d been holed up in her hostel room, crying and showing...
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