Today’s socially centered technologies are unbelievable. Twenty years ago the Internet began it’s transformation from command line messaging to the world wide web. Those were the very first steps to the world of social networking as we know it now. Around that time, cell phones also really started to pick up steam, and within the last 10 years cell phones have gone from what we dub “smartphones” to what we should dub “handheld computers”. 
The two have merged to allow us to now be more socially involved with our friends and family at any given time through an insane number of media such as texting, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+, cellular phone calls, and video chats from smart phones to tablets to computers. What I ask is, has this ability to be so socially involved with others left us socially distracted from those right in front of us?

The technology we are exposed to and use everyday is absolutely amazing. Thirty years ago it was unimaginable. An article I found at Walking Randomly states, “According to the current Top 10 Android Linpack results, a tweaked Motorola Droid is capable of scoring 52 Mflop/s which is over 15 times faster than the 1979 Cray 1 CPU."

Put another way, “If you transported that mobile phone back to 1987 then it would be on par with the processors in one of the fastest computers in the world at the time, the ETA 10-E, and they had to be cooled by liquid nitrogen.” That’s a truly amazing statistic, which we definitely take for granted today, but on to the point of the article. 

The majority of people I know under the age of 35 use this under appreciated technology extensively to access social networks and, of course, text like there’s no tomorrow. I see this happen all the time, even during social gatherings, and I constantly catch myself doing it as well. Sometimes I think my fiance is going to destroy my phone while I’m not looking in hopes I might actually pick my head up during a family conversation.

    Today’s tech savvy population spends too much time trying to be social, and not enough time actually being social. We’re starting to really miss the point of what it is to be social. The idea of being social is becoming lost in translation with belonging to a social network. Over the past hundred or so years social interactions have become less and less personal, from hand delivered letters to the telephone to email to all the methods we use to communicate today, and I’m growing exceedingly nervous that it will continue down this path. 

    Don’t get me wrong, there are things I love about today’s technology. A soldier on duty across the world can see his/her family through a video chat and see the smile of his/her child, which wasn’t possible in the past. It’s the general use that is the problem. Most people would rather text someone than call and hear that person’s voice. Cursive is soon to be a dead art because no one writes letters anymore. Everything is electronic.

     We’re growing farther away from personal connection in order to be part of this technological world where we want all the information all the time. We want to know what everyone else is doing and if we can join in, instead of joining in with the people physically around us at the time. Meeting people on the street and in person is becoming more of a rare occasion because people nowadays are looking down at their cell phone or tablet or in a blind daze as they talk on their Bluetooth headset. I would just hate to see a world where the only communication we have with each other is digital.

Written by: Andy G.
Picture: WomanAroundTown

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