Posted by: Staff | 03.01.2010

Supplementary Essay: “Is Technology causing a Shift in Human Expression” by Tyler Starr ’10

TYLER STARR ’10

OMG, LOL… Texting, cell phones, blogs, and tweets are redefining the way we communicate. Facebook is the new playground while print newspapers are dying. As thumbs replace tongues, does this shift in human expression enhance or limit social interaction and dialogue? Why?

            My thirteen year old brother Clayton starts texting before school begins. During our early morning commute, he texts away while I drive him to school. I will never understand why in the world Clay and his classmates would be texting before seven twenty; I can hardly drive before then or even think straight. Moreover, I find Clayton’s texting extremely rude. So to stop our button clicking car rides, I have made a deal with Clay: he can ask me one question about anything he wants, and I must answer it honestly. Even if it means his whole class will soon learn about my terrible junior prom night, hopefully the texting will stop, and he will engage with me during our rides to school.

            Texting, blogs, and social networking websites are great ways to stay in touch, but no conversation over Facebook or through texting should ever be considered as social interaction. Social interaction is having lunch with a grandparent or playing touch football with your classmates, not staying up all night changing your status from “doing homework” to “rub a dub, I’m in the tub” to “brushing teeth” to “just put my jammies on, good night.” First off, no one wants to know you are brushing your teeth. Secondly, you are not actually telling anyone this; you’re really just telling the internet.

            Though it may seem that these new forms of communication are bringing people together, they are actually pushing people apart. Due to their ever-present nature, Facebook and texting are extremely disruptive. Not only does Clayton get distracted from his homework while he responds to a text from some girl in his class, just having a possible vibrating notification in his pocket can interfere with our family dinners. At our family’s New Year’s Eve party last year, two of my thirteen year old cousins were texting all night to their friends and totally ignoring the rest of us. It was truly their loss because while they were texting, my cousins and I played a legendary game of charades and danced the night away.

            Texting and Facebook are very addicting. Facebook’s founders have done an amazing job of making Facebook the most captivating website in the world; you can spend hours catching up on the lives of your elementary school friends. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these tools because they are a good way of letting your mom know that you have safely made it to school, practice, Pete’s house, or home, but due to their addictive nature, you must find a balance. For me, I always call my beloved camp friends when I walk my dog because I do not offend anyone other than my dog who is too thrilled to be on a walk to care. As Clayton continues to grow up and joins Facebook, I can only hope he will not let those technologies take over his life, and we can still have conversations about embarrassing high school moments.

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Responses

  1. i’ve noticed similarly that since i’ve been introduced to texting, when i communicate face to face with people who do a lot of texting, that they’re often less comfortable making eye contact or going into depth. To me, texting is a very weak form of communication and its effecting how people interact socially.


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