Blog No. One: How the rise of digital communications and social media has changed the way we communicate?

How the rise of digital communications and social media has changed the way we communicate?



I have the attention span of a squirrel. Or at least that’s what I seem to observe in myself the second my fingers hit a keyboard, touch-screen pad, whatever. Facebook friends informing me about their “best breakfst ev3r! ❤ OMG”, e-mail’s from online retailers pushing everything from Mopar superchargers to make-your-own-granola kits, a YouTube video of a new dubstep remix of a remixed version of some song by a band I never heard of, Wikipedia articles about anything and everything, the flashing pop-up that reads “Tijuana luxury starting at $419.99* Limited Time Only!”, the NYU Home site looming ominously in a minimized page reminding me to check my Blackboard homework assignments… Communication overload. I jump from tab to page to site and back, filtering the endless amount of information “recommended” to me. Oftentimes I’m bored of what I’m looking at, without even figuring out what it is yet…

I could mention the many benefits that the rise of digital communication and social media has brought to us, especially in the way we communicate, but I feel that I would be somewhat preaching to the choir. Rather, I would like to mentioned the fact that the internet has greatly democratized communication (wow…even as I write this I just realized that I had actually moved on to check Facebook again), and that is not necessarily a universally good thing. Today, because of social media hosted by the internet, “every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly” (February 26, 1995, Newsweek Magazine). It’s human nature to try to express oneself, but by using the internet as a platform, communication is no longer limited to the general audience of people who actually want to listen to you – it’s global! Furthermore, there is no regulation to the opinions you can publically or anonymously express. Listening to “my personalized” internet is almost like listening to the drunk crazy old men that stand in intersections yelling at an audience of nobody and everybody. While oftentimes, I can harness the internet’s massive communications power to reconnect with an old friend, or cheaply keep contact with people overseas, etc., it oftentimes just overwhelms instead. Sometimes it’s just too loud.

For all the good the internet has brought, it has also brought a mass flood of unneeded information at an overwhelming pace. Communication is becoming more and more cheap and superfluous and too much information has lost its value and quality. What’s left is sheer quantity. Once upon a time, nobody felt the need to share their breakfast details with me. What they did share however, meant much more. In a nostalgic way, I kind of miss that.

And Catherine Field of the New York Times might agree…


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