Since the early days of communication, technology has played a large role in furthering the reach of human communicative ability. An oral folk culture transitioned to print with the invention of the printing press and today, print has been surpassed by the internet. Just by looking at this cycle of advancement, it seems in the next 50 years or so we’ll be able to read each others mind and communicate telepathically (crossing my fingers on that one).
One issue that is often mentioned as of late is how impersonal interactions are replacing physical ones, causing rifts between generations and challenging traditional methods of communication (email versus snail mail, texting versus calling, etc). Detachment isn’t necessarily negative though; with the advent of print, people no longer had to solely assemble to receive information, they could now read on their own. Essentially, it connected people in different communities and largely, nations, that otherwise would have little to no direct contact whatsoever. Print catalyzed the formation of a larger collective readership and also affected other forms of life, especially business.
The present day is no different; with globalization and the progress of internet use, specifically that of social media, ideas and initiatives can be spread easier than ever before. Although these connections seem very impersonal to some, they’re still happening. Whether I’m sending a telegram via Western Union to my uncle in Korea, calling him with Vonage or Skyping, am I not still talking to him? I believe that it’s less about being impersonal and more about what the most effective method is for the times we are living in. The creation of new norms and the buckling of old is no new phenomenon. Those who initially freak out eventually learn to adapt in their own way (or don’t) and the world still turns the same way.
– Laurel B.