Opinion

TheFacebook.com: I went to UM and got poked

It appears that today’s technological devices are inhibiting person-to-person interaction in today’s society. From digital media players to PDAs to Blackberrys to instant messaging to the new TheFacebook.com (“An online directory that connects people through social networks at college,” according to its website), we block out the world on the streets and hide in he shadows of our computers and digital messaging devices.

The creation of these new communication devices have brought new ways of communicating with the world, while taking away a large amount of the person-to-person interaction we experience on a daily basis. Removing face-to-face contact, we gain the courage to talk with members we may be sexual attracted to on thefacebook.com, whom we otherwise would have only admired from afar. Instant messaging gives us the freedom to say things that otherwise would not be said in public, and the ability to cover ourselves when we have stepped over personal boundaries by replying “J/K” (just kidding). This non-emotional, non-face-to-face communication has its benefits but also creates some difficulties.

Instant messaging and digital media devices take over our primary attention and make public interaction secondary. Digital devices allow us to bring our music, books, and lectures with us at all times as we walk to class or work. Now that we have all of these new tech devices that allow instantaneous communication, will they eventually cause a disruption of physical human interaction? Will this instant text messaging cause us to lose our ability to approach someone we may be attracted to or stunt out ability to communicate on a professional level? Is TheFacebook.com an aid in forming relationships or is it the beginning of socially acceptable internet relationships? Is this impersonalizing human interaction or are we witnessing an evolution in human communication?

These impersonal tech communication devices allow us to worry less about rejections and bad conversations. However, part of the human experience is the ups and downs that go along with communicating with people. How do we learn from our verbal mistakes and triumphs when we are becoming dependent on devices that require non-emotional communication?

These new tech devices enhance our communication process but should not become our primary means of communication. We seem to be isolating ourselves more by using them and becoming less daring to approach other human beings. Until tech devices can reveal our emotions, emoticons will have to suffice for now.

Sam Rega can be contacted at s.rega@umiami.edu.

November 23, 2004

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.