I recently bought an iPhone, and over the last week or so it’s been occupying a large chunk of my time. Apps like Tiny Wings are basically the Apple equivalent of cocaine addiction. Anyway, upon my extravagant (for a student, at least) purchase, my parents asked me what the purpose was of being so connected to everyone I know. This seemed like a ridiculous question to me, but then again, I’ve been text messaging a large number of my friends almost exclusively for at least 4 years now—any other form of communication practically seems archaic.
While the ability to be constantly linked to hundreds of people at any given time is an amazing thing to consider, some might also see it as a hindrance to certain other social interactions. I might even have to agree to an extent.
I may have mentioned this before, but I am a terrible phone conversationalist. OK, I’m a terrible conversationalist in general, but I’m even worse on the phone. To me, phone calls are awkward and faceless. There is also the inconvenience of not being able to reach the person immediately, and then having to conduct an extremely strange one-way conversation via voicemail. It’s no wonder I resort to texting. Because of this, however, my abilities on the phone have become stunted. Don’t laugh, it’s true. And let’s face it, I need to be able to handle a simple phone call. The ability to carry on a conversation over the phone is still relevant to many job situations. In fact, the majority of preliminary job interviews are held over the phone.
While not all of my generation are as unfortunate as me when it comes to telephone conversation, the art is still being lost to a certain degree. It certainly seems like the majority of us choose text as the first channel to contact someone. Texting is convenient and doesn’t require an immediate response. Some people (like myself) might even try contacting the person through social networks, if texting fails, before even considering to pick up the phone.
Our high levels of virtual connectivity, while being extremely beneficial, have unfortunately also created a very large social disconnect. The majority of my generation—“Generation Z”—are constantly glued to one screen or another, and we tend to have trouble ungluing ourselves in a face-to-face social situation. We might be with a real person, but at the same time we are having “conversations” with three other people—a habit that could prove difficult to break in a professional setting.
On the bright side of things, the world is still evolving along with technology. While some social arts are being lost, others are being gained or changing drastically. Take networking, for example: social networks like Twitter can now be used to promote yourself, stay connected with the people in your network, and even grow your network. I’d say we’re probably gaining more in the end by being so connected.
Anyway, I’m going to go back to Tiny Wings now. Might play some Robot Unicorn Attack. Good times.
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