- Vancouver, British Columbia - Conversation is a lost art. In the not so distant past, when people needed to communicate, they talked face to face. If they were unable to do so, they wrote letters to the other person. A letter is so personal. You can see the individual's distinctive cursive, and their emotions through their words. You can tell by certain slants and spacing how agitated one was while writing the said piece. Anger is presented by the pressure applied to the pen during writing. You can see when they took time in what they were saying, as if they wanted to impress or are just slow writers. You can see the words that they crossed out either because it wasn‘t the right fit, or they just can‘t spell. However, even though letters are personal and tangible ways to communicate, you are unable to hear the tone of voice, or read a person’s body language as you are able to in order to better interpret the meaning behinds certain phrases that they say.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the Telephone, a device allowing people to speak even from a great distance. One could hear the inflection of the voice and hear the tone that a person was using. No error could be made in same sense as when one is reading something. You can hear the sarcasm, the jokes, the love and kindness in the other person's voice through phone. Still the problem of not knowing how the person was acting remains. How did their eyes light up, or darken, how tense did their muscles become? Phones have a great way of making long distances shorter, because unlike when you are writing a letter, it is live. Both you and the other person are talking to each other at the same time. No anxious waiting period.
In 1990s, emailing became widespread. A quicker way to send letters to a person as long as you had their email address. Unlike with tangible letters, the amount of mail lost in the process of getting from A to B diminished. Sometimes emails did get lost in cyberspace, but it is a lot quicker to resend the email than having to completely rewrite a letter.
In 1973, the first cell phone was invented. Do you think that they thought that they would evolve to the point that they have today? The first cell phone was very blocky, and only meant for making the telephone portable. In the 1990s, cell phones started to become smaller, and depended on digital rather than analog transmission. Still, texting was not invented until 1992, and was limited to 160 characters. Texting as we know it today did not come to be until early to mid 2000s.
So where are we now?
Today, 22% of kids aged 6-9, 60% of tweens aged 10-14, and 84% of teenagers have cell phones that they use on a regular basis. The average teenager sends 20 texts a day. There are those who send more. There are times when teenagers are side to side and yet will be texting to each other rather than speaking face to face. They have lost the ability to naturally communicate without their phones. iPhones and Androids have started to take over the cell phone market, allowing people of all ages to be able to connect to the internet with a touch of a screen.
In today’s tech generation, many people have become dependant on their electronic devices to connect them to the world. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and the many others have started to take over. Some of these sites are constantly evolving, while others like MySpace are slowly dieing out because they are unable to keep up with the next generation.
There isn’t anything wrong with social networking sites. Connecting with people is easier than ever. With emails, you had to find out the person’s email address; to write a letter, you need their address and zip code along with other various details; with phones, you need peoples numbers. Sites like Facebook make it easy to search a friend’s name and “become their friend."
Through the process of technological advancement, we are slowly losing the ability to connect to a person face to face. People have become too needy of a screen to separate them from the other person that it makes them awkward in person and often quiet. People are losing the ability to communicate without the aid of technology.