Technology & How We Communicate

“We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.”

Albert Schweitzer

image of a mobile telephone signifying communication

geralt / Pixabay

Technology has become ubiquitous in our society and it is constantly altering the way we live our lives.

From how we work at home & offices, to how travel, eat and 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 interact with each other.

The way we communicate and exchange information has drastically changed in a very short amount of time.  We still exchange stories and gossip about rumors etc, but now we do so on a global level.

These changes have been for both better and worse, but have unequivocally impacted the way we interact with the people in our lives.

The journey into the world of electronic communication began in the 18th century, with the introduction of electric telegraph. Electric telegraph was invented in the 1800’s and possibly frightened the hell out of the person receiving the first Morse code.

This invention marked a stepping stone and a new era in the world of communication.

The success of the telegraph gave way to another two great inventions; Telephone and Radio.  The very fact of being able to speak to someone hundreds of miles or kilometers away was as bizarre then as being able to see a holographic image of a friend would be now.  These two astonishing pieces of technology were quickly followed by Television and the rest they say, is history.

All these technologies drastically changed communication and make it easier and faster for people to exchange
information to stay abreast of happening around the world.  Radio would communicate the declarations of war against Nazi Germany, and TV would bring in a new form youth rebellion against a staid and unchanging adult hegemony.

But near the end of 1900’s, there came the even more mind blowing and connected, always on phenomenon of cell phones and the internet.

These two technological innovations took the whole world by storm, taking communication to the next level.  No longer do we find out about a major world event days after it has occurred; but we find out in mere minutes.

An embedded reporter in a squad of soldiers can bring up to the second information to viewers back home sitting their nice comfy chairs eating their breakfast or dinner.

Cell phone and internet has amplified the rate at which we communicate with the world around us.  Developments such as instant messaging, text messages, e-mail, social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) chat rooms and video conferencing have allowed people across the world to connect with each other at breakneck speeds.

The development has made it possible for people, irrespective of geographical location, to get in touch with each other quickly for both business and emergency needs at affordable rates.

There are lots of benefits that come with advancing communication systems such as being able to stay in contact with family members and friends in far flung reaches of the globe or even just to be able show different cultures and peoples the way they are in their own environments.

However, some argue that over reliance on technology to communicate with one another has its disadvantages.  These methods of communication may lock you to an ever increasing flow of information creating a dependency on technology and therefore reducing social interaction in person and other physical activities.

Paradoxically however, this increase in the use of social media and social interaction from the safety of ones own house, has brought its benefits in terms of reduced petty crime, casual street violence and vandalism because people do not need to leave their own areas in order to socialize with friends.  However we are certainly seeing a new breed of horrible person in the form of cyber bullying and cyber terrorizing people.

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Furthermore, addiction to technology internet and cell phones communication can lead to different kinds of anxiety disorders, feeling of loneliness and isolation, which may dilute the bonds that hold us together.

I however, think that there are many shades of grey in terms of this subject.

Although everything has both a positive and negative impact, the impact of technology on the communication process has too great a reach to be considered a bad thing.  I most definitely thinks that the positives outweigh the negatives.

The bonds that held us together are too strong to break with new modes of technology.

I once read an article about the evolution of the human brain.

The gist of it was that the primitive or lower brain has had many hundreds of thousands of years to evolve, whilst the pre-frontal cortex, or the higher brain has only bee active for tens of thousands of years.

Our base instincts are still incredibly strong and can often override our more enlightened parts of the brain, think a university professor losing his shit over a parking ticket or other such small inconvenience.

Technology & How We CommunicateThe only time technology can be a problem is when it becomes the only mode of connection, making more traditional family members feel isolated, i.e. using Skype to communicate with a computer illiterate elder.

However, the speed of such advances far outstrip the need to worry about people not being able to catch up because as newer ways to communicate become available, the need for the generation behind to catch up becomes more prominent and necessary which in turn gives people an impetuous to learn more or be left behind.

Communication technology brings business partners, friends and family members together in a great way, there are no barriers. If you want to convey something urgently to someone, the most recent and fastest ways of communication are always used.

Video conferencing, social media charts and instant messaging help to strengthen relationships.  These facilities will enable you keep in touch with old contacts, and help strengthen relationships at affordable rate.

With regards to business, video conferencing and instant modes of communication can result in an increase in profit and a boost to general working and living standards.

By switching over to the use of VoIP systems, businesses can save considerable amounts of money and can act in minutes or seconds rather that hours or days, which can result in new developments in business and scientific breakthroughs etc.

The low cost, or even lack of cost, will make you to call more and care less about tariffs.  Calls made on VoIP are either at reduced cost or completely free of charge.

Calls make from PC to PC are usually free, while call from PC to phones lines, either mobile or land attracts relatively low tariff.

The speed in which the process of communication has picked up has had unforeseen consequences and will continue to shape the way we think and communicate.