The fate of human communication admist the mushrooming growth of social media.

Category: Universal and Others | Tags(#): #communication

Published June 29, 2022, 10:37 a.m. by Akuba

Life evolves, the world evolves, plants evolve and similarly, human lives evolves. This cycle is confirmed when comparisons are made between history and contemporary. When all things have evolved or are evolving, then it is safe to say the phases of human communication have over the years witnessed its own changes. One major contributor to most if not all of these changes in the phases of human communication is technology. With the invention and introduction of technology came social media. Social media has undoubtedly impacted the act of communication in the 21st century. If a person who died in the 16th century is to resurrect today, he or she would find this mode of communication unfamiliar and different, whether a good or bad one will be a matter of personal opinion. We should critically be mindful of the conclusions we draw while reading this paper. Social media in its general form is not a bad tool as it has contributed to some minor and major changes in the world. This paper is however focused on examining the impact of social media on human communication. 
Human beings are social creatures who mostly need the companionship of others to thrive and social media plays this role. Social media has helped bridge the gap of communication by linking us to loved ones who are far away. However, social media keeps us away from the ones closer to us. When you are on social media often, you spend less quality time with people who are physically present in your life. Many a time, we shift our attention to what is happening on social media than concentrating on what is happening around us. This has affected our non-verbal cues which usually add up to what we are saying. Non- verbal expressions in itself aid in interpreting what is being communicated. On social media, non-verbal communication is largely eliminated, making communication more complicated and sometimes end up causing misunderstandings even between the best of friends.
Maria Konnikova in her essay “The Limits of Friendship” argues that social media has a huge impact on the social lives of people and highlights how physical connections seem to be lost in the world today. (Konnikova 2014). Sherry Turkle, an acclaimed doctorate holder in sociology and personality psychology, in her essay “The Empathy Diaries” asserts that, face-to-face conversation is the most “human – and humanizing – thing we do”. (Turkle 379). “Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It is where we develop the capacity for empathy. It is where we can experience the joy of being understood”. (Turkle 378-379). 
Let us examine this example: Emefa’s parents are out of town and therefore she invites her girlfriends to come over to “hang out”. The entire period is spent with each of the girls focused on their phones and once in a while chipping in comments when necessary in a conversation they try to have. It is a sad but true reality of today’s human communication. When people are found in a social environment that avails the opportunity to have actual in-person conversations, social media becomes a distracting tool. Gone are the days when people get together at the end of the day in a mutual “hang out” spot to discuss how their day went over food and drinks. The period when discussions on the visit of an important celebrity at their workplace or an interesting assignment the boss gave them are had. The time to vent out anger towards a boss who overworked you in a space that is not even in your jurisdiction or qualification is gone. Those days without the presence of social media created physical bonds that lasted for a long time. Today, people seem to have thrown away the meaning of physical connections. According to Turkle, among family and friends, among colleagues and lovers, we turn to our phones instead of each other. (Turkle 378).
Human communication is no longer the same with the presence of social media. It almost seems people do not meet to talk anymore. Most communications are done over social media, even ones that demand physical presence. This in a way has affected the empathy and compassion humanity demands of us. I am of the view that, as much as social media is important in our everyday endeavors, physical connections play a huge role in our relations and relationships with other people. Like Turkle said, “face-to-face conversation is where we develop the capacity for empathy”. (Turkle 379). 
Human communication continues to be less physical every day. We discuss our lives on social media. Issues that are meant to be private are spewed on social media. Meeting friends to have fun is distracted by social media. Social media has allowed people to bully others all in the name of “constructive criticism”. 
What happened to talking and laughing over a bonfire? What happened to watching a game attentively with buddies over cartons of beer without phones and social media? What happened to family hanging out at the end of the day to just relax and talk? Social media happened. We cannot even be there for each other, give hugs or just be physically present to listen to others anymore. We do it over social media.
Imagine a world where friends actually hang out without spending the entire time on social media. Imagine the family dinners that see families who have not been in touch in a while get together and talk without the teenage son or daughter texting in a group chat how boring the dinner is. Imagine a world where physical connections are established and valued. The world will be so much better.
But who are we kidding? Social media has come to stay and whether it affects human communication or not, people’s lives evolve around it. So what do we do then?.

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Love to express my silent thoughts loudly on paper. #Inkideas

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