You know when you stumble upon an image, video, or article on the internet and immediately think about someone you know? It might be a close friend, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or a family member. Whoever the person is, that thing you saw online immediately reminded you of them and in that instant, the first thing you wanted to do was to tell them. However, you don’t necessarily want to start a full-length conversation; You just want to let them know that you are thinking about them.
This is how technology has changed the game.
Any innovation in technology comes to fruition because it either fills a void or makes something easier to do. It’s the simple economic theory of supply and demand. With the abundance of communication apps and social media sites out there, the act of actually speaking and saying how you feel to someone is slowly disintegrating. Our need for constant communication has indeed been met, but now we’re just now too lazy to make the actual effort of conversing.
Before social media, before apps, before smartphones, and so on, you couldn’t just go ahead and tell someone that they were on your mind. Before all of that, certain people wouldn’t even be on your mind because you wouldn’t have those things on the internet to remind you of them. Now, we’re constantly bombarded with updates about people from our past (and present).
If you want to get someone’s attention, it’s as easy as just double-tapping the heart icon on Instagram.
Technology has made it easier for us to track down our lost loves or old friends, but it also removes the step of ever actually speaking to them. We can know everything that is going on in their lives and never have to say a single word to them. Even with people who are still very much present in our lives, we don’t necessarily need to call them or text them to say, “Hey, I just wanted to remind you that I’m still here and am aware of what you’re doing at all times”. We just have to acknowledge a new photo that they posted.
We now even have the ability to be somewhere without actually being there. Take Snapchat for example, you can watch a person’s Snapchat story and witness the entire night without physically being present.
But how has this affected us?
Well, it’s affected us in a number of ways. We’ve become desensitized to the art of conversation, we’re less inclined to making time to meet up with someone in-person, and it’s inevitably also making us more depressed.
A recent article in Forbes references a study outlined by the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology indicating how Facebook prompts “Social Comparison” which thereby leads to depression.
Social media gives us permission to go ahead and stalk anyone that sparks our interest at any given moment. Yet, this silent stalking inhabits a great deal of pent up emotions and reactions that may never reach surface. Instead, we bottle it up and avoid talking about it. We just continue to silently stalk.
Our online actions have replaced actual conversation and we really need to take a step back and evaluate how this is affecting our personal lives. Instead, you can cut down on the amount of time you spend using social media and get out there and actually talk to someone.
The way we communicate has significantly changed due to technology. Not all changes are necessarily negative, but to a degree, it has made us closed off to the rest world. Although social media and communication apps have made it easier for us to communicate with each other, it has also lessened our use for speech.
I live in New York City and every day that I commute, I sit on the subway and observe the people around me with their eyes glued to the screens that they’re holding in front of their faces. How much of our time is invested in staring at our cell phones, computer monitors, and televisions? How much are we repressing through our use of technology?
I’d like to know how little we are saying to each other even though we are constantly in “the know” with each other’s lives. Sometimes, it’s easier to hide behind a screen than to say how we really feel.