Do People Talk to Eachother Anymore?

Remember the days when, if people needed to talk, they met and sat across from each other…face to face?! It seems like those days are a thing of the past.  Face to face conversations have been replaced with emails, text messages and social media.  Most people would rather communicate over a device.  We don’t seem to appreciate the once highly valued need for human interaction.  In a sense, “we sacrifice conversation for mere connection.”[1]  This led me to the question, what are we missing out on when we don’t communicate face to face?

A survey by the social site, Badoo found,

“39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than in person.”[2]

Part of the appeal of communicating online is the ability to present ourselves in a way in which we can control.  Social media erases the human response we receive when interacting face to face.  The following infographic[3], found on the website Mashable, helps illustrate the pros and cons of social media.

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Social media, texting and emails have become a very effective way to communicate, but they should not take the place of good old fashioned conversation.  Meeting face to face allows the opportunity to build inter-personal skills.  People learn the importance of reading body language and tone of voice; it teaches that words cause an immediate response.  The use of texting and social media dismisses these very important attributes of communication.

One of the main concerns is that of our youth.  Many developmental psychologists fear that with the overwhelming use of social media and texting, younger generations aren’t developing inter-personal skills.  So much of their communication takes place online or through text messages, that when it comes to real life communication, they are socially incompetent.  Psychologist, Sherry Turkle, believes without face to face communication,

“the complexity and messiness of human interaction gets short changed…those things are what lead to better relationships.”[4]

A great example is confrontation.  It is much easier to confront someone over a text or social media.  However, do people really learn from these virtual confrontations?  If we had to confront every person face to face we may choose to behave, respond and communicate differently.  Without a screen to hide behind, face to face communication holds people accountable.


Sources

[1]Sherry Turkle. “The Flight from Conversation.” The New York Times. April 21,2012.

[2] Dan Schawbel. “Why Face to Face Networking Still Trumps Social Networking.” Time Magazine. April 27, 2012.

[3]Sam Laird.  “Is Social Media Destroying Real-World Relationships.” www.mashable.com.  Online September 17, 2013.

[4] Jeffrey Kluger. “We Never Talk Anymore: The Problem with Text Messaging.” Time Magazine. August 16, 2012.

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