I firmly believe that our increased use of electronics with social media has had an effect on communicating face to face with others. Today my generation is much more comfortable with sending a tweet or a text, rather than calling someone or meeting them in person. I have even noticed with myself that I am much more anxious when approaching people in person.
Honestly, I think that it has to do with the ease and comfort of a text/tweet. For me at least, I don’t have to worry about whomever I’m talking to judging me based on how I look or sound. If, when talking to someone, I stutter or mispronounce something, it could lead to an embarrassing moment. This in turn could put a damper on my confidence and affect my ability to convey the message I am trying to send. An example would be a TED talk that I watched a while back. The content of the speaker was good; however, he kept saying “um” about every 20 seconds. This was a distraction for me that I couldn’t get over. With technology we can hide behind a screen or keyboard when talking. No one knows that we say “um” or “like” every couple of sentences when tweeting or sharing a post. We can say things that can be controversial when speaking publicly and maybe some heads will turn. However, I see many posts on Facebook where people say things that I would never imagine them saying in person. It’s almost as if people gain some courage when sending a tweet or text since they don’t have to worry about being judged face to face.
The problem with all of this is that we are losing the skill and the ability to speak publicly. Like many things, public speaking and holding conversations with someone is an actual skill. Great orators like Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan didn’t just wake up one night and be able to speak masterfully. They practiced and developed the skill by talking to people and rehearsing speeches. Since it is more or less common to speak to one another in person, we are losing that skill as a whole. The interesting thing is to see what the next generation will be like in comparison to ours. Nowadays people always bash millennials for being glued to their phones and not wanting to socialize. However, I can still remember when I was young going outside, playing with friends, meeting new people playing sports and so on. My sister, who is a sophomore, on the other hand has had a phone/IPad for as long as I can remember. If my generation is seen as being poor with face to face conversation, it will be interesting to see how the next generation is when they get to be our age.
– Jack Nagy