JRM 215 Intro to Mass Communications
Growing up in a time where almost everyone communicates via technology, it can be hard to have a meaningful conversation in person. I think that we now have to compete with phones, social media, texting, etc. just to be able to hold someone’s attention. While there are many perks that come with being a part of this online world, I must agree that social media does in fact make it more difficult to hold deep relationships with people.
When I first started using social media, I loved it. I thought that it was the most convenient thing in the world to be able to get ahold of anyone at any time. Before we all had iPhones and laptops, I enjoyed calling someone and talking to them on the phone, instead of needing to be with them in person. One example of this is when one of my closest friends moved across the country while we were in middle school. Before technology, I would’ve had to resort to letters or handwritten modes of communication. But now that we have so many options available to us in terms of social media, I can call or even FaceTime her in a matter of seconds. I believe that this is one of the most important benefits that come with being digitally connected. We are now able to continue to foster relationships via social media, no matter how many miles away we may be.
Even though I believe that being connected all the time has had an overall positive impact on my relationships, there are definitely times when it can feel overwhelming as well. In the past 10 years, social media has grown an enormous amount. Instead of just calling or emailing someone, we now have hundreds of options from which we can communicate. Texting, calling, FaceTiming, sharing photos, and Snapchat are just a few of the ways in which we stay updated. With all of these platforms comes nonverbal language. We are not physically standing next to someone, so we may not know exactly what they mean by their tone or gestures. It can be difficult to build a deep relationship with someone if you don’t always know exactly what they mean. For instance, whenever I text my Mom and ask her a question she likes to respond with “k”. For me, I associate “k” with the fact that someone is mad at me. We both have different meanings of the same word, which makes it hard to get the overall tone of the message.
Overall, living in a world that is continually connected comes with both benefits and drawbacks. It is amazing to see new friendships and connections blossom from being online, even if we may not be able to see that person face-to-face. It gives us the opportunity to become even closer with our loved ones, because we can stay updated quickly and efficiently. There are some negatives that come from this digital world as well, such as always feeling pressured to be in contact with someone, and having potentially toxic relationships due to interactions over the web. It can also be unclear as to the sender might be trying to say, since we can respond on our own time and in whatever way we see fit. Living in a digitally connected world is a fairly new concept, and in order to build genuine relationships I believe that we should prioritize all types of communication– both online and off.