Do we communicate more or less than we did 20 years ago?
You could argue that more information is shared these days than ever before. We are inundated by news channels, ‘social’ apps and digital newspapers. Social media delivers instant news updates and live blogs, whether fake news or accurate. Yet, are we really communicating more?
If we sit at the dinner table plugged into our smart phones and tablets, sucking up the latest updates, are we communicating or in fact not communicating at all? The very concept of social media is of course not really very social. Many aspects of a social interaction cannot be deduced from digital interactions. A smile or a touch of your hand. Sarcasm or a heartfelt laugh can be mimicked with emoticons but they simply do not have the same emotional impact. Sharing an honest laugh over a cup of coffee is not the same as giggling by yourself while reading your friend’s emails or Facebook updates. One makes you feel warm, loved and connected to the living world around you, while the other gives you a short digital high that is not actually shared with the other person.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, living through the emergence of the technological revolution and have seen the personal computer as well as the mobile telephone develop from a gimmick for the rich and wealthy to an everyday, 24/7 information tool. My daughter uses an iPad on a daily basis. She’s 2 years old. Whether good or bad, we live in a digital age and this is the way of the world now. I just hope that this generation and future generations don’t forget how to communicate with each other without the use of technology.