Happy Birthday! It’s that time of the year where your Facebook page lights up with notifications letting you know that people are congratulating on living another year. This year I decided to look how people communicated my birthday wishes. Now, I already had a preconceived notion which one would prevail and of course I was pretty spot on. As it broke down, I noticed I only received a handful of text messages, phone calls and private messages, but the main stream of congratulations was from none other than Facebook’s ‘wall post’. This really made me think about how distant social media has pushed our interpersonal communications and how we are now, in some form, communicating by means of a third-party. I am not here to say that I am an exception to the rule, however, I can see the path that lies ahead.
Since social media is so convenient and popular, it is easy to say that it is a mainstay for our generation, but what does that mean for our face-to-face communication? I believe that social media has opened a new level of communication and has made it easier than ever to connect with long-lost friends, close the gap with distant relationships, and can act as a great ice-breaker. However, this communication is all virtual, yes an emoticon may tell us that they are happy or excited, but it becomes difficult to really see how they truly feel. What I mean is this – social media has taken a lot of the essential aspects we have evolved to use for communication, for instance, body language, eye contact, touch, natural instinct, etc. and as we continually evolve, those instincts will diminish. I believe that we could really be looking at a world where some of us will live vicariously through surrogates or virtual avatars and our face-to-face communication will be replaced with a virtual pop-up of “$@ud!Pr!nc30fB3llAiR wants to talk to you privately in his castle on top of candy mountain!”
Now for the optimistic side- I find it hard for everyone to turn completely virtual and I know that there is a great balance that can come from social media and face-to-face communication. With that, a part of me feels that even though we converging with social media/electronics, we will still have the drive for physical communication and that will stay with us as long as we are still human.