As I’m writing this I’m in the middle of graduating from college. My project focusses on online healthcare and communication amongst youngsters, with great detail on how the new media has influenced their behavior when it comes to social patterns and interaction. This topic, with all it’s research and discussion attached to it, made me think though; are we getting in over our heads? Current society has adopted so many new (online) media and has gotten so dependent on communication through digital platforms that one can wonder if we’re not taking this too far. Might now be the time we disconnect to reconnect?
I am 27 years old. Some might say that this is old, yet I still belong amongst the generation dubbed Generation Y or “Millennials”. Me and my generation grew up in the midst of the digital revolution and all the inventions that have come along with it. We are familiar with old media (radio, tv, even the early stages of video gaming) and have been active participants in using new technology. We have been the early adapters when it comes down to the latest groundbreaking technologies. But we’re not the only users though. Over the course of the last decade of so we have seen a huge increase of use in new media by those aged 35 and up, with new media replacing the older media seemingly with light speed. Where there used to be a generation gap, we are evening things out bit by bit with the standardization of new media, we never disconnect.
Dependency is king
We are, as a collective, depending on new media and the use of modern technology. We use it in professional and personal settings, even cross breeding media to optimize our current communication. No matter where we are we are connected to each other and the world, with every self-respecting person owning a smartphone and a thousand and one portable devices gracing our presence so that no amount of time will be spent wasted and in vain. But is this modern addiction something to watch out for? There have been increasing outcry to tone down the dependence on modern media. Children and teenagers even have developed a social problem being addicted to online communication and these new media gave birth to a whole range of new problems, including cyberbullying, increased workloads and a huge amount of stress. And we all take it willingly, believe it or not.
I like social interaction and boundaries and therefore think it’s good that there are so many people criticizing this new way of communication and all the hassle that comes with it. I do, however see the good in developing new media and optimizing the way we interact. But it has to be humane. I personally don’t like living with or talking to someone who stares at their phone all day, though I probably have been guilty of being hooked on checking the Facebook app on my phone too. Let’s try and tone it down, maybe accept and take the well-deserved rest from communicating constantly and quitting the continuous flow of information that’s brought to us through mobile devices. I think it would be refreshing and one hell of a point of rest we might unknowingly desperately need.
In stead of bringing you a conclusion of my own I would like to offer you this song, poem or whatever you want to name it by American rap-artist Prince EA, who openly criticized modern communication and the way new media has invaded our lives, fooling us in thinking social media and online communication is the same thing as actual personal contact. Check out the video below and you may reconsider switching on your phone to check out Facebook and Twitter or take that one call from work, even when you’re a night out with your girl.
“We're the useless generation in this world of information. We're the useless generation, baby, pick up the phone"
(Randy - Addicts of communication)