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cara's picture

I think the same traits that

I think the same traits that allow newer technology (computers, cellphones, etc) to help us become more efficient and more broadly connected also diminish the quality of face-to-face communication. more so than older forms of technology (letters, home phone)  because older technologies do not enable multitasking and portability as much as newer technologies do. Cell phones, laptops, notebooks and tablets are constantly evolving to be more convenient, easier to take along with you where ever you go and encompass as many functionalities as possible into one device. Which I think wasn't really something that was seen before personal computers. You would never see someone talking on the phone instead of the cashier or the person they came to the store with before cell phones, as home phones never left the house. Same for letters, the physicality of writing on paper, the lack of an backspace button, naturally necessitates out thoughts to be well thought out before hand, a trait that is not conductive to multitasking. The nature of the electronic devices encourage the users to integrate technology into their daily lives, and to constantly keep a strand of their attention focused on them at all times.

So I would say the "Who we are communicating with" point is important, and tied into the idea you mentioned about Facebook allowing you to "see what's up in someone's life without actually having to interact with them". I think it does allow us to keep up connections with friends who we cannot be geographically close to much easier than before. So, no I may not be best friends with all my friends on Facebook, but if we didn't have Facebook I don't know that I would be able to keep in touch with some of them half as much as I do now. I would say much of the fear regarding technology alienating us from each other is, not unfounded but perhaps overblown. It allows us to maintain distant relationships much easier than before so naturally people nowadays how more 'distant friendships', but I also still have close friends that I can communicate effectively with both face to face and virtually.


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