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We have more and more ways to communicate, but less and less to say.

Has modern communications

technology made our conversations less meaningful?


Since the beginning of time, communication has existed as the foundation for humans in establishing
relationships and conveying ideas. Such a primal and almost instinctual need for such a means of interaction
has, of course, spurred people throughout the ages to create better ways to expedite the process of
communication. The society we live in today is a byproduct of the Internet, of mass communication and

1. Less effective communicators regarding interpersonal interactions

With the widespread use of communication applications, which is coupled with the ubiquity of
smartphones, it has decreased the qualitative aspect of communication, losing a little of our humanity as
addiction to mobile phones takes a tighter grip. People can now communicate with people all over the
world or when human interaction is not viable. In Singapore, people use text messaging and WhatsApp to
communicate with friends and family as they are low-cost and instantaneous, allowing multiple partners
to communicate even when one of them is offline.
In this way, technology has also made society somewhat impersonal. As a result, it's difficult to tell when
a person is serious or sarcasticclever turns of phrases can easily be misconstrued. Technology tends to
make communication drag out more than it has to as sometimes it's quicker to walk to the person or call
The social network Twitter prides itself largely on brevity in its characteristic 140-character status
updates it limits its users to. Brevity is the soul of wit, an apposite quote by Shakespeare. This is
undoubtedly what Twitter tries to promote and has had its impact as satirical Twitterers have compacted
snarky remarks on society within a single status update. However, this does not translate well in the real
social world we live in as the constant expectation and the primal need for communication lie more in the
details rather than brevity. The expectations of the people we interact on a daily basis go far beyond that
of short, intermittent messages or witty one-liners and extend more deeply into detailed conversations.
With the onslaught of the worldwide web and wireless communication devices, technology has in fact,
drawn people away from each other. The presence of short messages seemingly dismisses the need for
face-to-face interaction. We have become overly dependent upon such gadgets and devices to carry out
the basic task such as to communicate. Ostensibly, the above phenomena would likely result in the
generations to come lacking in inter-personal and interactive skills.
Technology seems to be subtly destroying the meaningfulness of interpersonal interactions, unknowingly
detracting us from the world around us, and leading to an imminent sense of isolation in todays society

2. Communications technology has given us a painted a false picture that communications does not
require special consideration
In 2012, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that the brain chemicals of people who
habitually used the Internet had abnormal connections between the nerve fibers in their brain. These
changes are similar to other sorts of addicts, including alcoholics.
Drawing parallels to the fact that alcohol makes one oblivious to their surroundings, social media and
communication apps, once immersed to them; is hard to extricate from and we often say things we regret
That can impact communications, relationships and our day-to-day interactions with others.
Psychologists define social capital, or the benefit we derive from social interactions, in two ways: bonding
and the more superficial bridging. Research shows that virtual-world friends provide mostly bridging
social capital, while real-world friends provide bonding social capital.
Our technical capabilities have raced ahead of our actual abilities. Geoffrey Tumlin, CEO of Mouthpiece
Consulting LLC, a communications consulting company, once said "Smarter phones don't guarantee
smarter communicators. Better communication happens only when our communication skills improve."

3. Meaningful communication is only achieved when we place our conversational goals over our
conversational impulses
Technology has encouraged communication on our terms and led to an explosion of self-expressive, me-
first messages. These same messages, unfortunately, are also the ones that torpedo our conversational
Texting is real-time communication but is not in person. This creates an odd situation in which people
feel compelled to respond immediately via text, but they arent really participating in an ongoing,
progressively deepening conversation. The instant gratification of texting can lead to incredible
impatience, even aggression. But when people talk to one another face-to-face, the requirement of
communicating immediately can be daunting for people communicating primarily via text. This brings
communication to a much more personal level where intensified relationships can develop, while
simplistic conversations over the phone only constitute small talk. Thus texting can inhibit both in-
person communication and texting itself.
Social networking provides a means of escaping confronting aspects of ourselves and our lives we wish
were different, better, more glamorous and less mundane. It is an all too convenient coping mechanism
for avoiding harsh realities in our life.
We cannot become dependent on it to do things it simply cannot do like fulfill our deep innate need for
intimacy, genuine connection and real friendship. All needs which can only be fulfilled through
sometimes-uncomfortable conversations, in which we share openly what is happening to us and engage
authentically with what is going on for others.

4. Advances in technology have expedited the process of communication

Technology has made it possible to send messages with the press of a button. The most important
documents are digitally sent across the world and are delivered almost instantaneously.
Since the advent of technology, many technological inventions have been beneficial in increasing
productivity and enhancing well-being in one way or another.
Take the smartphone, for example; it is so indispensable and pervasive in our lives. It has evolved into
such a device that has proven extremely useful and convenient to us. At the touch of the finger, we find
ourselves in the digital world, immersing ourselves in the latest news and updates from our friends. The
smartphone allows us to communicate with our friends beyond the physical realm, transcending
geographical boundaries
Smart phones help us amplify our identities and relationships in the digital world.

Yet, if we are unable to disconnect from the digital world, our emotional core might alter our sensibilities,
robbed of all emotions. Humans are innately visceral beings. If technology were to convert us into
emotionless pure-intellects, then the future would, sadly, be very dull and bleak.
It is undeniable that recent scientific and technological innovations have enhanced the quality of life for
many. However, the developments of today that promise us a better quality of life are also the ones that
can worsen the quality of life.

The belief that the emergence of communication has allowed for deepened relationships exists more in
form than substance
As we rely on technology to communicate more efficiently, it is imperative one must not lose touch with
the physical community
Undoubtedly, the human element can never be substituted by technology. Communications has and
always will be centred on human relationships.
The effectiveness and efficiency of digital communication hinges largely on how it is being used.
Technology will only translate into advancement if its power is harnessed appropriately.