MARCH 22, 2006

The end of human contact?

       ROFL. BRB. GTG. TTYL. 
       If you’re like me you can’t stand the new technological terminology people use. Maybe not so much stand it as understand it. It’s because of this new “language” that people are losing vital communication skills.
       Most offices are hooked up to the Internet and employees have free run of the World Wide Web. This includes chat programs where users can send messages to each other via the Internet. There are lots of people who couldn’t get through a shift without having access to such programs.
       Many workers use these programs as a way to communicate with others in the office. It’s laughed at, but lots of people will be chatting with someone in the next room as opposed to standing up, leaving the office and going next door. In schools the situation is much the same where students rush to the computer to sign in and get chatting with friends -- friends who are in the same room.
       Quite often people will use a chat program to communicate with several people at once. For instance, many people will tell you, “I’m talking to six other people right now.” Well, that is correct but it’s also incorrect.
       You see, we’ve become so programmed by our computers and Internet lingo to actually think what we’re doing is “talking." When in actuality, “talking” is communication using speech.
       I remember a time when the telephone was exciting because you could reach anybody anywhere in the world just by pressing numbers. I guess we aren’t too far off from that where we now just type things out. It almost seems like a step backwards if you ask me.
       For me, I appreciate hearing a person’s voice in a conversation rather than just reading words because you can hear fluctuations in tone when a person speaks rather than interpreting written words your own way which can be completely incorrect, leading to miscommunication.
       I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because I do have these programs. But there’s a difference between using them casually for a few minutes to briefly send a message to a person and spending a full eight hours on it, ending up with sore wrists from feverishly typing all day to keep up with messages.
       Something I have noticed over the last few years is that people don’t like the phone and prefer conversing over the Internet. It’s because we’ve coined the term “multitasking” and people like to think they are getting more accomplished at one time. But if we really look at it, our communication skills are going downhill. It almost seems that some people base their popularity on how many people they can be “talking” to at once.
       Perhaps we truly are headed into the computer age where a person won’t have much or any human interaction throughout the day. Oh well, I still prefer the phone. That’s probably because I have so much to say that my fingers would be numb by the time I finish my story.
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