Since the introduction of the Internet and smartphone technologies, communication patterns have changed considerably. Several decades ago, people mainly relied on face-to-face communication and were used to waiting days and months for a response. With the widespread use of technologies, communication has become instant and accessible from any part of the world. People can reach each other at any time they like, broaden their social circle, and share their experience with others with the unprecedented speed (Eastman, 2013). However, some negative effects of technologies should also be mentioned because people seem to gradually lose their interpersonal communication skills and rely excessively on online interaction. Therefore, in this essay, I argue that advanced technologies have both positive and negative effects on communication patterns.
Millions of people around the world cannot imagine their lives without advanced technologies. Smartphones and social media have widened their horizons, allowing to communicate with each other instantly. One no longer needs to wait weeks to receive a letter or use obsolete stationary phones to get in touch with friends and family. It became much easier to contact someone because everyone has smartphones, e-mails, and social media accounts (Eastman, 2013). Technologies save much time because it is no longer necessary to go to the post office or send telegrams to share information. In this way, social relationships have become more diverse and convenient, thus providing numerous opportunities for personal development, increasing productivity, and ensuring emotional stability.
It is also important to note that not only daily communication with friends and family has changed because people have gained more opportunities in the business and education setting as well. It has become much easier to contact colleagues, business partners, and clients using smartphones or the Internet. One no longer needs to fly thousands of miles to discuss some important project because online tools such as, for example, Skype, allow organizing online negotiations. In general, it is practically impossible to imagine the contemporary company not using technologies in its daily operation because technology has become both the source of information and the effective communication tool. Similarly, technology has changed the way students and teachers interact with each other. It allows obtaining distance education, contacting peers and supervisors when it is needed, searching for information, and sharing knowledge (Spector, Merrill, Elen, & Bishop, 2013).
However, technologies are also associated with some negative effects. The main disadvantage of online communication is that people lose their communication skills and spend less time interacting face-to-face (Drago, 2015). In many developed and developing countries, people spend more time online rather than communicating via traditional forms. Researchers have found that a regular Internet user spends more than six hours a day online (Fasouli, 2016). It is not surprising, therefore, that people do not have time for face-to-face interaction. Moreover, users live under the ongoing stress because of technology dependence – they need to stay online so that their bosses could reach them and get frustrated and angry when they cannot obtain an instant response from their interlocutors.
Therefore, one may summarize that technologies have an ambiguous effect on communication patterns. On the one hand, they have expanded users’ opportunities and made their lives easier in many relations. Today, people can contact anyone they like and have increased career and educational opportunities. On the other hand, technologies can serve as a barrier to face-to-face communication, which cannot be replaced with any online interaction. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between online and real-life communication and try not to lose the precious experience provided by personal interaction.
Drago, E. (2015). The effect of technology on face-to-face communication. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 6(1), 13-19.
Eastman, H. (2013). Communication changes with technology, social media. The Daily Universe. Retrieved from http://universe.byu.edu/2013/07/07/1communication-changes-with-technology-social-media/
Fasouli, D. (2016). Communication has changed during the last 20 Years. Which factors have caused the biggest changes? ResearchGate. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299389172_Communication_has_changed_during_the_last_20_Years_Which_factors_have_caused_the_biggest_changes
Spector, M. J., Merrill, M. D., Elen, J., & Bishop, M. J. (2013). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
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