Smoking Cigarettes Cause Cancer, Essay Example
Beginning in the 1980s and rapidly growing larger through the 1990s, the Internet has steadily become an indispensable part of daily life. People use it to socialize, work, shop, and learn. They employ it to play games, attend classes, reestablish friendships from the past, and commence new relationships. The Internet has also become a prominent, if not the most pervasive, means of exchanging mail, and on a global level. It is an extraordinary avenue for instantaneous communication and, largely abetted by the use of smartphones, it is one accessible anywhere people choose to go.
This range should be indicative, then, of better communication. Quantity by no means always dictates quality, but the sheer volume of communication now available would seem to point to a greater facility of it. People today are, after all, communicating in ways unthinkable only a few decades ago, and communication is a skill that typically improves through expanded practice. Unfortunately, the very volume of communication opportunities now in play serves to erode, rather than enhance, the actual exchanges taking place, because people tend to rely on the means to supply a great deal of the content, or take the place of it. Having turned to the Internet to interact with one another, people are consistently lessening the skills and efforts they formerly invested in communication.
Differences of Communication Approach
It is stating the obvious but, before the advent of the Internet, communication relied on more literal experience. There was an investment of interest and energy made even in telephone calls, or in the writing of letters, that is unnecessary today, because communication before the Internet was an exercise unto itself. It did not exist as a corollary function, one to be conducted simultaneously with another activity, as it is today: “People walked to classes or talked on the phone, but not both simultaneously; they drove cars or talked on the phone, but not both at the same time” (Wood 319). In other words, communicating was necessarily seen as an independent activity, engaged in for its own sake, and consequently requiring a certain level of focus and interest.
That the Internet vastly changed all this is inescapable, simply because the degree of actual commitment to the communication is lessened by virtue of its ease, as well as by exactly how it is conducted. There is an inevitable sense of a kind of communication “obligation”, for instance, when interacting with a real person. An untold number of physical and mental actions and responses are in play because communication in person is never limited to mere exchanges of words. Physical nuances, changes in tone, and signs of interest alter constantly, and the human mind then exerts energy in deciphering all the signals coming to it. The efforts are crucial, as direct physical communication is the richest type known to humanity (Yazdani, Barker 112). Then, even writing letters demanded a concentration, and a focus on the recipient. Before the Internet, and setting aside telephone and mail exchanges, these were essential components within a great deal of human interaction.
The Internet eliminates both the need for such efforts and the communicative rewards of them because it is far less a dimensional affair. As is well known, it is “invisible”, at least to a degree; since the speaker or listener is not actually present, any persona or identity may be put forth, and this by no means refers only to deliberately fraudulent behavior. It is not uncommon for people anywhere to wish to present themselves in a more flattering light, be it by way of describing themselves or of expressing information not necessarily true. While this kind of relatively innocent subterfuge may also be done in live contact, it is a far more risky business because people tend to betray themselves through the physical signs noted earlier. From the privacy of the home, however, there is a much greater freedom to fabricate, and for any reason whatsoever.
More important, however, is that element of personal investment. To be able to speak, or write in text, to anyone at virtually any time, while in a supermarket or behind the wheel of a car, must reduce the actual value of the communication. Sheer access inevitably lessens the worth of any activity, so the ability to conduct communication at will devalues the thing itself. Viewed in this light, then, it is not so much that the communication erodes in quality because of the implement enabling it, but that the approach prior to it weakens what will occur. “Speaking” to anyone today is a matter demanding no more effort than raising a hand to punch in a number or click on a stored, cell phone name; therefore, the average person feels no impetus to devote much concentration to the exchange.
To assert that the Internet is responsible for a lessening of communication talents because many users employ acronyms, icons, and other kinds of shorthand is to miss the point of the greater issue. That is, this prevalent form of abbreviated communication is a symptom of the same, universal access the internet allows, but is by no means the chief problem of it. The problem is the casual approach noted above, which is also self-perpetuating because Internet communicators, like communicators in “literal” forms, tend to emulate what is presented to them. Consequently, the basics of grammar, spelling, and address, which are necessary to ensure a uniformly understood mode of contact, decay through a kind of tacit, mutual consent.
This is potentially damaging enough in social spheres. Unfortunately, the Internet blurs lines, by virtue of that base of privacy from which the user communicates. It is, in plain terms, a cycle of laziness that all too easily finds its way into more critical kinds of communication. It is very common for online job-seekers to overlook that they are employing an email address not exactly professional, or even vulgar. Qualified candidates for employment lose positions because, in emailing gratitude for an interview, they add “smiley faces” or fail to check for spelling and grammar (Kessler 179). The Internet user, unconstrained by standards of communication in their casual, friendly correspondence, is highly vulnerable to losing sight of how differently certain kinds of communication are expected to be conducted.
Moreover, it may be reasonably claimed that omnipresent usage of cell phones and smartphones similarly erodes quality of contact. The logic is clear, and akin to the issues surrounding email problems; when the communication may be engaged in at any time, import is drastically reduced. Part of this is also due, ironically, to the fact that people wish to validate the cost of the device. In very basic terms, “Spurred on by use-it-or-lose-it phone plans, people call each other just for the hell of it” (Dauphin 147). This is a far greater concern than mere grammar or spelling lapses, for it goes to the substance of communication itself.
It is likely, if not a certainty, that the Internet is here to stay, as it is also true that this technology is responsible for vast improvements in the lives of many. Nonetheless, the reality is that this extraordinary means of communication has brought about an erosion in communication itself. Unlimited access has translated to a universal disinterest in the techniques of expression. The solitude of the communication base has removed valuable aspects of human interaction, and the ability to call anyone, at any time, has significantly lessened the worth of call content. Having turned to the Internet to reach out to others, it seems people are gradually abandoning the skills and efforts they once invested in communication.
Dauphin, V. B. Tantalizing Times: Excitements, Disconnects, and Discontents in Contemporary American Society. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2006. Print.
Kessler, R. Competency-Based Interviews. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2006. Print.
Wood, J. T. Communication Mosaics: An Introduction to the Field of Communication. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Yazdani, M., & Barker, P. G. Iconic Communication. Wilmington, NC: Intellect Books, 2000. Print.
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