Face-to-face contact lost in wave of digital devices

Huan Vo

In 2009, 47 billion instant messages were sent per day worldwide. As of 2011, Facebook has 500 million active users. If those numbers are any indication, texting and Facebook have become a mainstream way of communicating.”It’s scary to think about a generation without any face to face interaction,” said Thomas Schmidt, a faculty member in the psychology department. “In the future, that could become a lost skill among people.”

Though it’s convenient to just text someone or post something on Facebook, it makes human communication impersonal.

Brittney Anderson, sociology major, said she texts and owns a Facebook account as well as a Twitter account.

“I love them,” Anderson said. “I can keep in touch with my friends and know what’s going on in their lives.”

Direct interaction and communication gives people ways to convey their messages such as eye contact, body language, gestures, etc. People can only use words and emoticons with texting and Facebook.

“It’s really easy to fake your emotions,” Anderson said. “You can just click on the emoticons to express yourself, whether it’s your real emotion or not. Also, it’s pretty easy to lie.”

Texting and Facebook remove the instantaneous of a direct conversation. It depersonalizes people, who consider themselves a social species.

“They remove people from the real world,” Schmidt said, “by creating an artificial existence where things aren’t just as real.”

In addition, the risk of identity theft is just clicks away if people are not mindful of what kind of information they throw online.

The info tab on any person’s Facebook page reveals lots of information about that person provided that it’s open to the public.

“More often than not people post the most absurd info about themselves such as birthday and home address,” Schmidt said. “I’m still having a hard time figuring that one out.”

Despite those shortcomings, people still prefer to look away from direct communication if possible.

“Sometimes it’s just way easier to say things to people when you’re not in front of them,” Anderson said.

“People who use social network a lot do develop some kind of laziness that prevents them from talking to people,” Schmidt said. “Also, it reinforces the fear of talking to people as well.”

One in every13 people on the planet has a Facebook account. People cocoon themselves in their comfort zone and interact with one another using typing skill. A world of indirect communication as the only means of communication might not be far off.

“I’d be fine with that, actually,” Anderson said. “I think I could live in a world like that.”

“You can only fight technology for so long,” Schmidt said. “I have a Facebook account but I don’t use it often. I’d probably use it in the future, but so far, I can’t see (how) it can do anything good for me.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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