Technology & Relationships
As the times and technology evolve, so does society’s view on relationships and how they treat and maintain them. To support my idea I have drawn from two seperate articles, the first being, “About Facebook,” by Ari Melber, and the second being, “The New Communication Technology: A Challenge to Modern Relationships,” by Regina Lynn. Relationships have not weakened they have just been altered; technology has been blamed for depersonalizing human interaction, and making privacy between you and society obsolete. This may be true to a small extent; the overall relationships between individuals have changed, that much is true, but they have not necessarily been changed for better or for worse. Relationships have simply added a new level and dynamic to their equation. This has shaken up the very foundation of societal norms. People react with shock, not because the change is bad, but because it is simply unexpected. Time is the only thing needed to learn to adjust to this new era of human communication.
A major topic in this debate is unity that technology provides. This issue hits on much more than Facebook alone. The idea of technology is broader. Think back to 2001; when the horrific acts of terror were put upon New York City, but most importantly the terror that every American was then subjected to. Compared to the overall number of people that reside in the United States; the population of New York City is a very small percentage. The rest of America was left waiting on pins and needles to find out the status of their comrades. If e-mail had not been around, or a telephone had not been invented, I would have not known that my cousin had survived. I would have been left to worry. There is a time and a place to use technology, but at the end of the day technology was invented for purposes such as this. It brings people together. I understand there are downfalls in technology, but they were invented to help; which they do more often than not.
Technology is criticized for being an escape from reality and that people tend to be more focused on what their latest text message has to say rather than the folks that surround them. Lynn hits the nail on the head when she states, “Convince me that it’s more important to yak with a stranger at the neighborhood coffee house than it is to text conversation with my dear friend Monique. It might look like I’m ignoring a passing acquaintance in order to ‘use my phone.’ But actually I’m checking in with a new mom who is running home, baby and business on her own while her partner’s job has him commuting to Canada temporarily.”(87) I can completely connect to this concept. I live 2500 miles from home and there are times that I would rather be texting my mother and trying to maintain a relationship with her than making conversation that has no substance with the middle age man next to me in line at the store. For most of the population, we use technology to maintain the relationships that are important in our culture in the first place.
One major way it helps is not only connecting to people “in case of emergencies” like one of my previous examples, but also to keep in touch with the current events. I realize that most of the time “current events” in youth’s standards are monitoring the current relationship between Suzy and Billy; which Facebook will allow you to track if you so choose. However, Facebook also allows many other avenues of communication. An example of this is, Events. The Events feature on Facebook allows you to invite guests to any type of event you could imagine. It gives you options from anything from Bar Mitzvahs to fraternity parties. Is this feature such a bad thing? Or is it just going to take awhile for society to realize that simply inviting an individual via Events feature on Facebook is not only faster, but cheaper? Our children will not know what it is like to have to make invitations and have to locate addresses that nobody seems to have. They will also not have to waste their money on stamps that simply get discarded once they reach their destination. After the invitation is mailed, you have to wait for the RSVP. In total, all of this madness takes nearly a week. What’s the point of wasting a week when the Event feature takes upwards of 3 minutes? Society needs to learn to embrace change and not only accept it, but also effectively use it day in and day out.
The information era that we have clearly stumbled upon is not going anywhere. We must adjust or there will be individuals that will simply be left behind. Many people fear that too much of their personal information will be leaked out. I agree there are snags in the system, but the information released is at the discretion of the user. If the user wishes for all of America to know their home phone number and address, then so be it. However, there is no rule saying that you must provide all of that information. Melber states, “Growing up online, young people assume their inner circle knows their business.” (94) That statement is completely unfair. Relationships have changed, but the inner values of individuals have not. There are different ways to express ones needs now-a-days that are much more public than previous eras. However, the type of people that want to tell the world about themselves and those individuals that like to keep to themselves will do so with or without the help of Facebook and growing technology. Humans are creatures of habit and instinct. Nothing has changed about our inner needs just simply the way these characteristics have been allowed to be expressed over the years.
In short, Americans are too quick to judge the unknown. Relationships and dynamics among others have been introduced to a new level of communication. Technology has not only helped us during national crises’, but also with day in to day out maintain of relationships that society has built itself upon. The stories that arise about scandals among Facebook need to be judged with harder critique. We should not assume that Facebook is always responsible for the carelessness of its users. There were reckless people that existed prior to the information era, but they were not put on public display. To summarize, people will be themselves with or without an internet cord.