Priestley’s Paradox

It is assumed that technology has aided the increase in interpersonal communication however it important to discuss the effects of technology on modern communication. This essay briefly provides a critical opinion on modern communication and provides examples of some interpersonal communication that rely on new technology, its potential advantage and possible dilemma with the use of modern technology in interpersonal communication.

The world today is a global world; we live in a global village and the world as we know it keeps decreasing due to the rapid growth of technology. The ever increasing speed at the development of new technology creates innovative ways of communicating and in more ways than one has changed the way people communicate. Although modern communication has some advantages, which include convenience, speed, dissemination, and these advantages can be overpowered by disadvantages such as lack of content, language confusion.

It will be argued here that the role of modern technology provides methods that hinder interpersonal communication, therefore while there are certain advantages associated with the increase of communications technology; these are evidently outweighed by the disadvantages. Communication is important to humans and a vital part of our world; man is a social animal and therefore requires communication as an essential tool for socializing. Focusing on interpersonal communication skills, Eunson (2008, p. 86) defines this as the processes that help, distort or block communication of messages between individuals but communicating effectively requires some basic skills such as active listening, usage and interpretation of body language and facial expressions. Technology however has created different channels to enhance interpersonal communication, invention such as mobile phones, emails, social networks, has made for easier, faster and smarter ways of communicating.

This has led to the internet becoming an essential instrument in the media and communication strategies of civil society (Bailey, Cammaers, Carpentier 2008, p. 98). However with such availability, communication barriers are constantly increasing, with language confusion and a vast vocabulary of ever growing internet slang. Priestley’s paradox suggests that the rapid increase in communications technology has increased the quantity but decreased the quality of contemporary communication (Eunson 2008, p. 4-5).

Whether or not this statement is entirely true, it is undeniable that it is very representative of the degree to which communication has deteriorated due to the constant increase of different technologically enhanced means of communication. Communication between individuals includes both verbal and non-verbal that can be easily misunderstood depending on the medium of communication. The occurrence of misunderstanding between individuals is heightened because of the lack of personal connection and context.

Emails are generally informal, unstructured with the use of colloquialisms and jargons, email has rendered irrelevant more direct and often more effective forms of communication such as using telephone, walking down the corridor and talking, or attending meetings (Eunson 2008, p. 208-215). In addition to that, some people take advantage of the accessibility of sending an email and say things they wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in face to face conversations and messages sent can be misinterpreted or misunderstood by receiver further reducing the quality of communication.

Things such as body language and eye contact is non-existent when it comes to sending emails, these are very essential part of daily conversations and some people use it as an excuse to avoid face to face conversation. Many may argue that in the past few years the world has undergone radical changes with the amount of available modern communication mediums, and these appears to have caused an increase in the number of social networks.

Online communications mediums, weblogs in part, are sites of author audience interaction that differ from face to face performance and traditional reader relationship (Buckingham 2000, p. 207). Most young people spend countless hours on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo creating friendships and relationships with people they meet in cyberspace. The strangeway in which so many of these interactants see the internet as both an intimate area for exchange, as well as a place for public display, challenges our perceptions of these boundaries (Buckingham & Willet 2006, p. 19). The ease at which many disclose personal information on the internet via social networking sites is alarming as they generally are exposed to risks of contact with paedophiles (e. g. via grooming in chat rooms) and often exposure to violent or racist / hate material (Buckingham & Willet 2006, p. 94). Another advantage of communicating via social network sites is that people can share ideas and values while maintaining anonymity.

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