How media and information affect communication
So, if the internet has only been around for a relatively short period in the grand scheme of things, why are we so dependent on it?
When we step back and get a bird’s-eye view of the overall timeline of communication before the internet, we see an undeniable trend:
Technology has triggered an exponential acceleration of the development of communications media in the modern age
Looking back at ancient civilizations, we see that society relied on horseback messengers for centuries and centuries. There was little to no evolution in communication for extended periods.
→ Suddenly, beginning approximately with the printing press development, a rapid influx of communications technology bombarded society.
This phenomenon was accentuated even further in the 20th century, as communications media emerged much more quickly than ever before.
If we were to create a visual timeline of communication over history, we would see that most developments are clustered together in modern times.
The result has been information overload
We can’t keep up, but we enjoy trying to do so. We want to try every new social media app out there. Maybe it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The more we have, the more we want.
It becomes an addiction
Statistics are startling│communication before the internet:
Research has demonstrated that a full 62% of survey participants admitted to using their mobile phones when in others’ presence.
Yes, phones can be excellent communication aids, but at what point can they actually hinder communication?
Studies have demonstrated:
A decreased ability to engage in face-to-face conversations as a result of constant internet communication. 74% of Millennials prefer to communicate digitally rather than in person.
The emphasis becomes quantity and speed of communication rather than quality:
Deep, three-word text messages have replaced lengthy conversations
A quick scroll through Facebook illustrates:
The influx of information bombards our brains in such a short time. News, links, photos, videos, comments… It’s enough to make your head spin. And that’s just one social media platform.
When you add Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, etc., into the mix, the results are mind-blowing
Research has suggested that children nowadays are much more likely to develop ADHD due to social media overuse.
When bits of information fighting for our attention hit our minds repeatedly, we lose the ability to focus.
That said, internet communication isn’t all bad. After all:
❥ When in history has it been possible to video chat with a loved one face-to-face despite the distance?
✓ And when in history have companies been able to make business internationally so easily?
The key lies in learning how to wield this power effectively. We are practically toddlers taking our first brave steps into this overwhelming world of media.
Never before has communication spiraled out of control like this, so it is expected that we would stumble a little.
As we become aware of the drawbacks of internet communication, we can learn to sidestep the potholes and use these powerful communication tools for our benefit.
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