With the powerful new media technologies at our fingertips, human beings are interacting at a historically unprecedented speed and frequency. And yet, despite this, every relevant metric shows that we are more disconnected than ever before.
If according to studies, face to face communication truly is the most effective way to build strong and lasting relationships, we need to ask ourselves: is this technological increase in communication superficial, focused on quantity rather than quality?
Here are the stats:
As human beings,
- Only 7% of our communication is based on written or verbal words.
- A staggering 93% of communication is based on non-verbal body language.
More people would rather communicate via chat or text than have a face to face discussion.
- In social gatherings, it has been found that 90% of the time is spent on devices rather than in meaningful interaction with those physically around.
- According to predictions, by the year 2020, 50% of the workforce will prefer to use instant messaging or other social media to communicate, rather than stop by an office to talk with a colleague.
Considering that these technologies were made to enhance human relationships, it is ironic that they seem to be destroying them altogether. While New Media has broken the communication barriers of space and time, it has gradually made us less communal. The reality is that although we are more social, we are losing important social skills, a few of which are:
- Replacing physical communication with digital communication at work limits our ability to build well-grounded employee relationships.
- It reduces our ability to work effectively in teams.
- In physical gatherings, more people find it difficult to strike a conversation.
- It hampers our ability to make new friends without the help of social media platforms.
With all that said, chances are that the advancement of technology will continue to increase our dependence on social media. This means that as we adapt to lives driven increasingly by technology, we must learn to create a balance between the two worlds.
In our daily communications, we must remember that emotions expressed in the physical â€“ smiles, handshakes and other physical cues â€“ will always build stronger relationships than any emoticon can.
Is mankind in danger of becoming soul-less or are we evolving to accept emotions via a different means?
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