Cell Phones and Social Media: Keeping in Touch with Everyone but Ourselves
04 May 2014
Technology developed in the past decade has been life-changing. Cell phones have become the most quickly embraced consumer technology in history. Because of this boom and the monumental popularity of social media; have we lost the ability to communicate without this medium? Smartphones and pocket-sized mobile devices have allowed us to do things that were only dreamed of a few years ago. These new technological marvels combined with the overwhelming wave that is social media are reshaping the way we communicate, and with whom. Smartphones and social media are ...view middle of the document...
Additionally, we see social media’s effects on our ability to interact and to develop and nurture interpersonal relationships. Finally, we see the effects of technology addiction and how we are living life through our smartphones at the expense of the moment.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”
A recent study that was done by Nielsen shows that 79% of young adults own a smartphone (McGrath, 2014). Smartphones allow us to keep in touch with family and friends when we are away, listen to music, take pictures and movies, use the internet, and basically keep in touch with the world. There is a vast amount of information and socializing available at our fingertips at every moment of every day, and people are taking advantage of it. Results of data collected by the Android app Locker show that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day, while some checking their smartphones as much as 900 times a day (McGrath, 2014). How often do we send a text or e-mail, or post to a profile instead of calling someone? The lure of the “always connected” social network allows anyone to stay in touch with everyone 24 hours a day. The convenience of being able to stay connected according to our schedule and our desires is almost too much to pass up; it’s addictive. A recent study found that not only are college students the world over absolutely tethered to their phones, they are also tethered to their friends on phones. The Tethered World study, directed by Prof. Paul Mihailidis of Emerson College in Boston, studied the mobile habits of students from 52 nationalities, attending universities in eight countries, on three continents. 800 students tracked their mobile use for 24 hours in the spring of 2012. At the end of the one-day study researchers found that students used their phones overwhelmingly to text, share and comment via social networks (Moeller, 2012). With this significant desire to stay in touch with such a large number of individuals, are we actually forming meaningful, lasting relationships?
Not according to Paul Booth, PhD, an assistant professor of media and cinema studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University in Chicago. Booth stated (as cited in Keller, 2013) that there has been a shift in the way we communicate, rather than face-to-face interaction, we’re tending to prefer mediated communication. We’d rather e-mail than meet, we’d rather text than talk on the phone. Booth also noted (as cited in Keller, 2013) that while we’re communicating more, we may not necessarily be building relationships as strongly. Booth’s research suggested that there are three issues regarding the role social media plays in people’s communication styles. First, our messages are more open as we tend to trust the people on social media. Second, our social connections are not as strong as our face-to-face ones are so those relationships don’t tend to...