Personal Connections In The Digital Age
2124 words - 8 pages
Introduction Compared with the past centuries, there are several types of communication technologies which could be used when communicating with others in the contemporary society. Information flow can be shown in different patterns in the twenty-first century, for example, spoken, written and keyed forms (Brody, 1990). It would be apparent that digital citizens have changed their communication style gradually due to the rapid development of media technologies. According to Dimmich et al. (2011:1266), access to different media technologies stimulates the fluency of interpersonal communication such as telephone, email, instant message (IM) and social networks, thus, users could contact with others without the obstruction of distance and time. Digital media have varied human's original social connection, whether it ruins the quality of personal relationships or explores more communication channels (Byam, 2010). It might be true that the amount of the modern media technologies users has increased dramatically and those technologies would play important roles for most people in their daily life and change not only human's communication pattern but also impact on the quality of interpersonal relationship. The modern media technologies would attract more general public to utilize because of simultaneousness, interactivity, social identification and extension of social circle. However, some users would consider negative effects on interpersonal relationship, which result from heavy reliance of media technologies, for instance, ineffective communication due to unclear expression, threat to close relationship and a sense of interpersonal alienation.
This essay will analyse the reasons why media technologies have become the mainstream channels in interpersonal relationship. After that, it will discuss the potential drawbacks to interpersonal relationship, which are caused by media technologies and make users to consider what extend they should rely on those modern media technologies.
Shorten the distance of interpersonal relationship between users The new media technologies might usually be regarded as the best approach for users to shorten the geographic distance between users, although they live far from each other. "Going through their daily lives, many interpersonal media users are frequently in a state of mobility (Dimmich, 2011, pp.1269)." For example, expatriate employees would use the modern media to communicate with left behind relatives. According to Madianou and Miller's (2012:171) research on digital media in interpersonal relationship, the improvement of modern communication technologies and media convergence result in the revolution of interpersonal communication, the dramatical population movement and the flow of human capital. The increase of demand of the modern communication technologies could be found in migrants and their family members who still live in their homeland (Parrenas, 2005 cited in Madianou and Miller, 2012, pp.171). It might be true that migrants' families rely on the modern communication technologies since it could break geographical boundaries and make them to connect with their family members easily, therefore, they could maintain their relationship in different nations.
In addition, instantaneousness might be an impressive character of the modern communication technologies. The traditional communication style such as face-to-face communication could make communicators exchange information directly and simultaneously, as a result, effective communication could be caused. By contrast, some early communication medium could not serve a synchronous function, for instance, email. However, owing to the advancement in new media, information nowadays could be delivered without delay. Baym (2010) mentions that face-to-face conversation could be realized in synchronous communication media, for example, phone call and instant messages. Utz (2007:695) indicates that the computer-mediated communication overcomes the geographical distance between users, but also reduces the time of delivering messages, and the communication based on the modern media would be synchronous. In the early of twenty first century research (O'sullivan, Hunt and Lippert, 2004), it showed that the immediacy of computer-mediated communication facilitates successful management of long-distance relationship. There is no doubt that immediate information could be received by implementing the modern communication technologies that could be regarded as the channels with the similar function as face-to-face communication. Therefore, users who do not live in the same area could maintain their relationship easily because the instantaneous makes them to ignore the real distance.
Interactivity in virtual space Compared with traditional communication, the most significant feature of the modern media technologies might be its interactivity, especially the social network service