The modes of interaction that humans have utilized over time vary greatly. We started off with face-to face communication, songs, etchings, art, books, letters, telegraphs, phone calls; which developed into rapid-fire emailing, texting, and the like. In the past ten years, communication has morphed into very a casual affair. Where pains were once taken to produce eloquently written letters, we now are able to shoot off impromptu texts, which have even developed their own, relaxed, vocabulary. The number of social media members, regular web-frequenters, and overall users of technology, rises incrementally every day. These numbers are broadcasted by sites such as the “Worldometers” website, “Internet Live-Stats” website, and the article “How Much Time do People Spend on Social Media” by Asano. The first two display the ever-changing numbers of internet users in real-time, and the article presents an interesting observation as to the amount of years an average consumer will spend using some of these technologies over their lifetime.Visiting these sites and seeing the data made it easy to ask the question of how the rise of technology, in all its forms, could affect the ways we interact with ourselves, each other, and the world around us.I read the article “As We May Think” by Bush (written in 1945) with this question in mind. Bush is credited with the invention of hyperlinks. His vision of the future consisted of every person having devices that could answer questions, and store a history of their “trains of thought.” I find it amazing and inspiring that somebody could virtually predict a device that was not even close to being made yet. The rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets only goes to show how appealing it is to have information and boredom-lessening capabilities constantly around.

Although advertised as such, social media and the internet do not always bring people together. It is helpful and exciting in the ways that it can spark dialogue and reach potential friends and mentors all around the world; but the danger of forgetting about “real life” is always hovering around the corner. Shortened attention spans have led to a culture of incendiary outrage; “outrage” which melts away as more exciting topics come around. I feel that we are at a turning point of sorts; technology could evolve to physically bring us closer together as a human race, with peace as the goal, or we could continue on this road split between our online-personalities and our true selves; constantly searching for equilibrium.


Author: Deborah Grieder

Green Meadow alumn 2017, Muhlenberg College 2021.

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