People evolve over time. So it stands to reason that the ways in which people communicate and relate to one another also changes over time. This is clearly seen in any detailed study of human history, but the question is: what factors are catalysts in this evolution?
In other words, what causes us to change the way we communicate?
While there are infinite possible answers to this question, it’s clear that – at least in the recent stages of social evolution — technology plays a key role.
Ways Technology Has Changed Social Interaction
Over the years, technology and communication have, to a large degree, merged alongside one another. As the former changes, so does the latter.
Let’s explore a few interesting ways this is true:
Social Media Apps Make it Easier to Meet New People
If you’ve recently moved to a new city or tried to expand your circle of friends, then you know just how challenging it can be to meet new people. Thankfully, this is one area where technology has had a positive impact. With social media apps and other online communities, it’s easier than ever to find a group of like minded individuals and meet up for a gathering – such as a sports league or club.
Online Dating and Its Impact on the Brain
Online dating has become commonplace in today’s society. Apps are now responsible for connecting thousands of couples every year. And while the convenience of online dating apps is nice, it may actually be causing a fundamental change to our brains.
"Every time we get a notification, ‘like’ or match, we feel a rush of excitement," Ilna Club explains. “Studies have shown that the randomness of the notification, referred to as the ‘Random Reward’, causes a spike in dopamine – the brain’s feel good drug. It can therefore be argued that not only are we receiving validation from the attention, but it’s possible that we could get addicted to this form of dating owing to the Random Rewards which spike our dopamine." Only time will tell if this is true, but dating – which already has embedded game-like tendencies – could become even more of a competition in the future.
Short-Form Communication on the Rise
It used to be that long-from communication was necessary. When you had to mail a letter and wait more than a week to get a response, you weren’t going to send one- or two-sentence messages. Or when you knew that a friend would be without access to a phone for a few days, you called and had a longer conversation in anticipation of the absence.
Today, mobile devices are ubiquitous. Messages can be sent in seconds and short-form communication has now become the preferred way of interacting. This has led to a variety of shortcuts, symbols, and abbreviations in the form of keyboard hot buttons, emojis, and acronyms.
Because we always have a smartphone, tablet, computer, or other mobile device within reach, it’s often hard for us to disconnect from the world around us – which is necessary in order to retain emotional balance. Though it’s a bit of a lost art, learning how to unplug and shutdown is becoming increasingly important for us as a society.
Putting it All Together
It’s nearly impossible to study the evolution of communication without accounting for the ways in which technology has been a contributing factor. As we’ve shown in this article, there are countless influences. Keeping an eye on these trends and where technology is headed will allow us to more accurately prepare and predict the future of communication and social interaction.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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