:) Age of Communication (: This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 2, 2011
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Blasting into the twenty-first century, speed is everything. The Internet and cell phones give you the ability to reach friends with the click of a button. The twenty-first century is the age of communication. Networks everywhere connect us across continents and oceans. Facebook and Twitter broadcast our every thought second by second. Text messages allow us to have simultaneous conversations with multiple people whenever or wherever we want. People who are shy can express themselves through these new means of communication without having to face anyone or with complete anonymity. Because of cell phones and the Internet, people are joined together by an invisible connection, but how connected are we really? Short quick messages travel at the speed of light but they don’t really express what is on our minds and can be interpreted in thousands of different ways. Text messaging and emails prevent us from developing interpersonal skills and limit us from having meaningful relationships with the people in our lives.

In this day and age the “letter” has become obsolete. The average teenager doesn’t know how to address a letter let alone write one. Email and text messages have replaced the “letter” but it is not for the best. The interpersonal skills needed to write letters to communicate our thoughts properly with one another have been lost to “quick text” and smiley faces. Even the notion of grammar has been thrown out the window along with the knowledge of how to spell. The people skills that our good parents slaved day and night to ingrain into our brains have simply floated off to Never Never Land and have left us with acronyms that do not even make sense. A conversation in the next five years might go like this: “hi what up u,” “lol tyl! ?.” It is easy to send a text message and most can probably do it without thinking, but to have a meaningful conversation with another person and communicate effectively, the ability to think could come in handy.

In the old days, a very long time ago, teens would pick up the phone and call each other when they wanted to connect with each other. They would hold a conversation for hours, gabbing and giggling. Parents would call from the bottom of the stairs that dinner was ready and to get off the phone. By the end of that long conversation, the teens were well versed with each other’s lives. Sadly now, all that people know of each other is in tiny print on a tiny phone or in a short email. Yes, with today’s technology we are constantly “connected” with our friends, but how many can recall the last time they saw their friends or the last time they talked to them? How can we really call ourselves connected when we can’t even remember the color of our best friend’s eyes? Sincere relationships take time and energy that teens today just don’t have, so they resort to impersonal messages with impersonal answers.

The ability to say and share how we feel so we may connect with other people is a gift that separates humans from the rest of the living world; but our animalistic need for instant gratification may jeopardize this gift. If every once in a while we don’t slow down and write a thoughtful letter or pick up the phone and communicate our thoughts and fears we will lose the true meaning of being connected. And once that’s gone, we are no different than the apes from which we derive.

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