The 21st century is known, amongst other things as the “rise of communication” century, more specifically digital communication. Do we really communicate more or better than before? I am not really sure about that, especially for my dear generation, the Millennials.
The access to better communication is undeniable, be it by email, phone, text messages, video calls, you name it. I can speak with my friends who live in California, the Reunion Island, France, Ireland and Ivory Coast altogether at the same time, isn’t that incredible?! This revolution happened in just a few years, and should have technically made communication easier and more open, but it looks to me like it has done quite the opposite. When I look at how the Baby Boomers and their communication habits, they seem more comfortable meeting up with people and discussing matters face-to-face rather than hiding behind long text message conversations, which Millennials are more likely to do. They tend to invest less time in face-to-face interaction, as everything can be said by text or call. According to a survey from Marketwatch, four in ten Millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with people IRL (In Real Life). Now, how scary is that?
Communicating mainly by text message comes with some benefits of course (always reachable, straightforward, quick and easy), but also a lot of drawbacks. As people become available almost 24 hours a day, there is no real “break” in communication and therefore can turn into not responding or even ignoring messages. Having the possibility to reach your contacts at any time can result in a loss of value in communication. Like many things in life, when there is too much of something, the “something” starts losing its value. Another drawback of text messages or emails is the misinterpretation behind them. Sometimes when exchanging messages, you might be in a certain mood and will interpret the responses accordingly, but it probably was not meant to come across a certain way. That’s when face-to-face or calls would clarify the situation.
I am the first one to admit that I couldn’t live without my phone, mostly due to the fact that my family lives abroad. However, we should value the face-to-face interactions, as there is nothing like them. In fact, I am trying to take a break from this dependency and permanent connection to my phone. Join me in this little break from technology and start having quality real life interactions again, it might change your life, who knows?