Sunday, 23 September 2012

Negative Effects On Communication Skills

For centuries humans have communicated with each other face to face, in different languages and dialects. As we grow up, we develop certain skills that allow us to relate and communicate with each other.

In the last few years, social media has taken over the way we communicate. 
Email, Instant Messaging and Social Networking have become common day to day communication tools among society. Instead of talking, looking at each other, while being at the same physical place, we seem to be spending much more time communicating behind a keyboard. 

Off course face to face communication still exists, but social media communication is increasing at a worrying pace. How is this negative to society you may ask?

Let's look at communication through Twitter. Twitter is an extremely popular social network with more than 500 million users as of February, 2012.
This social media tool enables users to send text messages containing a maximum of 140 characters.
This restriction drastically changes the social dynamic in conversations, as you are forced to get your point across in under 140 characters as opposed to a normal conversation. The restriction also drives you to use abbreviations or misspelling of words to fit your message.
In consequence, potentially 500 million users around the world (and counting) are making a habit of misspelling and abbreviating words in their day to day life. 

This can have a negative impact on our communication skills. 
For example, hypothetically speaking, if in the future they have to deliver a speech to an audience. Will they be able to express themselves easily in more than 140 characters? If they have to write a legal document, will they be able to do it without misspelling or abbreviating words?

This leads to another negative impact social media has on society's communication skills: the decrease of face to face interaction. A 2010 research study conducted in America targeting teenagers, showed that 54% percent of teenagers text their friends once a day, and only 33% said they talk to their friends face-to-face on a daily basis.

Face to face interaction is vital for society to function, as not everything can be done behind a screen and a keyboard.

We need physical and social interaction to live. 
With the increasing amount of users and number of addictive-hours we spend on social media, face to face interaction is spiralling down. 


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