Does the internet negatively impact on our interpersonal communication and interactions? Or is this just a reaction based on our inherent suspicion, rejection and fear of change?
Technology has changed the way we live, what we do and how we do it. Change is a constant. It is inevitable and resistance merely hinders one from learning and addressing whatever negative aspects there may be.
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, technology and communication are not mutually exclusive. Communication apprehension is nothing new.
Most people dread being picked out of a crowd and put on a spot. As with public debating, a traumatic experience for most. Something one naturally shies away from. An instinct that cant be blamed on the internet. Nor is it fair to pick out and censor technology for magnifying negative behavioral tendencies we all have to varying degrees.
Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. When communicating face to face, the reaction one gets isn’t always certain and popping down to the local pub is commonly accepted as a way of socialising. As is the fact that a few pints tends to loosen the tongue.
We are reluctant to be judged and with technology, digital means, it’s actually becoming easier to communicate from behind a keyboard, because people do not have to do that initial face-to-face reaction.
This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how one chooses to communicate. Where the emphasis should be on recognising that everyone is personally responsibile. Self-awareness and appreciation rather than the artificially constrained social norms which often lag way behind their sell by date.
Our use of and dependence on digital means of communication allows people to learn written communication to varying audiences and simple tools like spell check can actually help develop our communication skills.