Technology and social media is ever changing, moving in directions we can never pinpoint exactly. Following in its wake are the many discussions, legal issues, policies and controversies, in which we seem to be constantly mired. Critics of this new way of going about business and social interactions communicate that social media and technology are driving a detrimental wedge between regular human interactions hence killing conversations. In rebuttal: has social media changed the way we go about our daily lives? Yes. Do technology and social media have the capability to interfere with the way we fundamentally communicate with each other? For sure! Are there valid points on both sides of this argument? Better believe it. Is technology and social media the sweet, sweet kiss of death for the art of conversation? Well, maybe.
True, everyday we see people on the move with their cellphones less than a foot from their faces, glued to a virtual wonderland engaged in miscellaneous activities. Engaged… but disconnected from actual relationships, a point skeptics stress. Conversation is fluid, conversation is a dialogue and dialogues can be short and sweet or last for decades. At the risk of contradicting myself I’d like to point out that what’s being seen and commented on isn’t as much of a change in conversation so much as a change in the landscape the conversations are being had. Instead of discussing the latest gossip on the block during teatime in Mary Sue’s living room, it’s a Facebook thread, Twitter banter or group text complete with emoji. Different landscape but still a conversation. What would have been a three hour long catch up session over coffee between two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a year, it’s a few texts exchanged every month to stay current or just a perusal down a Twitter feed or Facebook wall. Different landscape but still a conversation.
This is not to say that a good old fashion sit down is obsolete. We just use technology to better coordinate when and where the sit down is going to be. However before things get out of hand (or turn into heads up displays) we just need to remember to take things in moderation. Can’t stress it enough, moderation, moderation, and more moderation.
Take texting and driving. It seems like there are endless cases of this glaring negligence most of us are guilty of committing. Just this past August a woman in Bunnell, Florida named Cacilia Carter, who suffered irreversible brain damage in 2010 as a result of a guy texting and driving, won a 4.3 million dollar lawsuit against said texter…. her boyfriend. The two were in the boyfriend’s car when he rolled a stop sign to answer a text. A tractor-trailer rig was oncoming and Carter and her boyfriend drove directly into the trucks path. This would be an example of too much. That text can wait. That conversation can be paused.
What we have here is a fairly new way of doing things we are all getting used to and just now figuring out all of it’s applications. Social Media has rocked advertising to its core and brought the old school to its knees. It’s a brave new world, (forgive the cliché) but the important thing is to adapt the right way; to control the social media and not let it control us. Too much of anything is a bad thing and maybe we’re just figuring out where that happy medium is.