The Disadvantages of Using Technology to Communicate
By Tricia Goss
For many of us, text messages, emails and Facebook posts have taken over much of our social lives. Although these are the new normal, that doesn't mean we should disregard good old-fashioned phone calls or face-to-face contact. Learning the downsides of electronic forms of communication might just prompt you to pick up your phone -- and dial it.
Lack of Privacy
You might think that a quick text or IM offers more privacy than a telephone call in a crowded room. Although the initial act of communication was private, your recipient could share the instant message or email with others, inadvertently or otherwise. When this occurs, not only are you unable to deny the conversation, but it can also be embarrassing and even damaging, depending on the message contents. If you need to convey a sensitive message, you are better off doing so with a private phone call or conversation.
Distraction from Real Life
Sitting next to someone who is engaged in a heated text message conversation can cause you to feel lonely and left out. When people use technology as their primary means of communication, they can become so engrossed in their gadgets that they acquire a form of tunnel vision. Without realizing it, these thumb talkers may forget about job responsibilities, neglect relationships with family and friends and become dangerous drivers.
Potential for Misunderstanding
When you communicate using your computer, cell phone or other gadget, you lose the nuances provided by body language and voice inflection. While you can always end a jovial text with a winky face or type in all caps to show the gravity of your message, there is still the chance that your words may be misconstrued. In addition, a physical conversation allows for instant clarification. Your friend can email you back to ask you to explain your meaning, but may develop hurt feelings while awaiting your reply.
Decline of Grammar and Spelling
A final detriment of the increasingly commonplace practices of texting and messaging is the upsurge of acronyms, abbreviations and, quite simply, lazy language. Some platforms limit the number of characters the user can enter causing people to shorten, "Did anyone tell you I will be late?" to "Dd ne1 tl u ima B l8?" Although tech gadgets literally place dictionaries, thesauruses and other reference materials at our fingertips, the current and forthcoming generations may attain the worst vocabulary yet.
Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for OfficeUsers.org. She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.