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The New Culture of Communication

Michelle Goh, Features Editor

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With the emergence of the Digital Revolution, electronic devices have only become more prevalent in our everyday lives. These changes create a new culture of communication such that the face-to-face communications of the past have been replaced by text bubbles from modern texting apps. In fact, texting is the most-used form of communication by American millennials. It is greatly disparate from physical communication as opposed to talking over the phone or video-chatting. Although some people may think that texting enhances human connection, it actually makes us more alone.

How does technology isolate us? After all, a text message connects people all around the globe in a matter of seconds. These messages also enable conversation once restricted by distance. An organized system of phone numbers allows any two parties to contact each other. Lastly, text message seems to effectively accomplish its function: to send a line of words. Many would assume that technology allows humans to feel less alone.

The truth of the matter is that texting only connects people at a superficial level of understanding. It is a quick-fix to much needed substantial conversation. A text lacks interaction and engagement that face-to-face adequately provides. As a result, growth of social skills and emotional intelligence is hindered. The act of physically meeting someone involves more than just speaking some words: it involves interpreting facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language to empathize with the other party. The reason why a person yawns when someone else yawns is because humans are social creatures with an innate capability for empathy. Seeing someone else’s expression induces similar feelings, as human emotions are truly contagious. Text messaging heavily lacks this kind of interaction, which cuts off human connection and impedes emotional understanding. In a survey conducted by Emily Drago from Elon University, it was found that a majority of the respondents felt that the quality of their conversations degraded in the presence of technology, while many individuals were bothered when friends or family used technology when spending time together. Additionally, nearly half of the respondents communicated more frequently with friends and family via technology than in person, strongly indicating that face-to-face interactions have decreased both in quality and in quantity. Overall, communication via text is shown to affect weak human connection, which has an isolating effect between the participating parties.  

The effect of texting on human connection is a very complex subject, which has been researched thousands of times, but cannot yet be defined; however, texting definitely alters the way humans communicate, and most likely, degrades the substance of conversation people share with each other. In the end, green text bubbles just do not promote the empathy that emerges from face-to-face communication.

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The New Culture of Communication