Technology is constantly altering the way we live our lives. From how we eat to how we travel and work to how we entertain ourselves, technology has become an integral part of our day. However, the aspect of our lives that has been most impacted is likely the way we communicate with one another. These changes have been for both better and worse, but have unequivocally impacted the way we interact with the people in our lives.
1. Speed o Technology has amplified the rate at which we communicate with the world around us. Developments like email, instant messaging, texting, cell phones, Twitter; social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, and video conferencing have allowed us to connect with each other at breakneck speeds. This has helped us in some ways by allowing us to get in touch with each other quickly for both business and emergency needs. However, with speed sometimes comes recklessness. In a heated moment, people may send a text or email they later come to regret, but can't take back because it was sent in a matter of seconds.
o Technology has changed how when contact each other, when, and where. With cell phone service being much more consistent than it was in the 1990s, and a growing market of smartphones with mobile internet and email access, messages can literally be transmitted anywhere at any time. This is uniquely helpful in a professional sense, because it allows you to stay in touch with colleagues when on a business trip or out of the country. Unfortunately, this accessibility can also become a burden. Blackberry phones have earned the nickname "Crack berry," referencing a growing addiction to connectivity and a fast-paced lifestyle, perhaps distracting from other important communicative processes. o Efficiency o Technology has greatly impacted the efficiency of our communicative acts. Instead of having to have a long conversation with a client about his kids and home life before asking a quick question about an order, a brief and to-the-point email can be sent to accomplish the same task. While this has made some business interactions a little easier, our reliance on technology to communicate with one another can sometimes lead to conflict. There is no nonverbal context to a text message or email, which means that sarcasm or jokes can sometimes be misinterpreted, leading to hurt feelings.
Family Connections o Technology has made it easier for families to stay in contact with each other. Instead of having to rely on physical photographs being sent every couple of months, new parents can now send photo text messages (MSM) to proud grandparents every day. Video telephone calls made with platforms like Skype can let parents on overseas business trips talk to and see their kids. Members of the military can keep up to date with their family affairs and receive encouragement via email while deployed. The only time this becomes a problem is when technology becomes the only mode of connection, which can make more traditional family members feel isolated.
o Technology has exploded access to news for the public. We are able to communicate about events as they happen with platforms like Twitter or news tickers that can be downloaded to your desktop. Moreover, the internet has changed the way we communicate news by giving literally anyone a voice with blogs and websites. This free flow of information serves as a check on public figures sometimes, but can also lead to misinformation and confusion.