By Rama & Musée Bolo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Face to Face; Pitfalls of Technological Interaction

  Learning how to multitask has become a must in todays world. With social media and technology adding to the traditional ways we communicate and conduct business with each other, I’m starting to feel like I am going in a million different directions. Each morning I awaken to a mountain of communications, all of digital origin. To go through them one by one would be a daunting and tiresome task. Technology has enriched our lives in many ways. It has changed the nature of human interaction by allowing us to reach out at our own pace and during the most convenient times available. We can grab a few minutes here or there to seek the social interaction we desire as human (and very social) creatures. It is easy to see the positive implications that these technologies have had on our lives. There is a downside, however, to this technological convenience. We have inadvertently removed one of the most important aspects of social interaction; the necessity of considering others when planning to communicate or interact with them.

By Rama & Musée Bolo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Rama & Musée Bolo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The depth that comes from socially interacting face to face, and the meaningful relationships that often blossom from such depth, have been sidestepped. The intricate and complex communications between two people, the body language, the tones and inflections, the inside jokes, the sidelong glances, the scent of one another, the intuitions that arise from all of these and more are markedly absent. Technology pales in comparison to a real world meeting between two human souls.

By Sl-Ziga (self made by Ziga from the Slovenian Wikipedia) [GFDL (http-::www.gnu.org:copyleft:fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http-::creativecommons.org:licenses:by-sa:3.0:)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Sl-Ziga (self made by Ziga from the Slovenian Wikipedia) [GFDL (http-::www.gnu.org:copyleft:fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http-::creativecommons.org:licenses:by-sa:3.0:)], via Wikimedia Commons

Physically, when two people plan to meet, to talk, to go to a movie or any other such event, they must coordinate with each other. This coordination of two sovereign beings, and the communication that transpires is priceless when developing interpersonal skills. The technology of today has removed a large chunk of that interaction. Instead of having to think about others in planning a meaningful encounter we simply post, or email, or blog for that matter, and wait with eager anticipation for a response. It isolates us, and stymies our growth into socially intelligent beings. Consciously, we need not be aware of each other in ways previously required in social discourse.

techno 3 robot

  When we rely on technology too often in our social encounters we experience a sort of atrophy of our real-world social aptitude. Awkwardness and a feeling of being overwhelmed can replace the confidence and joyous exuberance we once had in the company of others. Their is an inherent selfishness in the design of social platforms and the technology that supports them. I say this because they have been designed and marketed for the individual. The convenience and the ability to make a choice of when and where and for how long others will receive the gift of your presence leaves little to no room for the consideration of others. Empathetic consideration is an integral ingredient in growing into a socially well adjusted and altruistic individual. When all we have to consider is ourselves selfishness will be our legacy.

By NASA (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00104) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By NASA (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00104) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The human mind calibrates itself according to the recurring patterns of thoughts and behaviors we experience. These patterns of thoughts and behaviors are influenced by the things we ascribe as necessary or worthwhile. Many paths exist to carry us along through this life in pursuit of our ideal future. I have come to realize that every path has certain costs. It is up to us to have the presence of mind to clearly understand each cost, each gain, and weigh them accurately. In our isolation let us not be divided. Technology should be complimentary to our real-world social interactions. If we use it to communicate farther and faster and with more people than ever before, while taking the time to meet each other face to face as often as possible- I believe this world will be a brighter place by far! Never forget the importance of your physical presence next to another human soul. We all need a hug from time to time.

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