In the past, we would search out books in the library for information, but now technology has advanced to the point that a search is simply a click away. Within the past 15 years alone we have even gone so far as to use technology for friendship connections and even finding a romantic partner.
The rise of social media has even served us well in keeping in contact with friends and loved ones who are far away. In fact, it could easily be argued that many relationships we have today would likely not exist if social media was never developed.
Despite this amazing creation, we are finding that there is a downside when we primarily use technology for connection.
1. Missed Communication
Varying statistics suggest that up to 80% of communication is nonverbal. The remaining 20 percent is divided between the content of our words and our tone of voice.
2. Limited Conversation
The unwritten etiquette of social media has reduced our conversations to a post with a few sentences or characters. While it does help us express our idea, it keeps us from being able to share the reasons for our position and opens the door for misunderstanding.
3. Comments versus Conversation
The comment box is not a place for a real dialogue, but rather an opportunity for others to share opposing views, and sometimes personally attack each other.
Many disagreements are now “settled” by simply unfriending or blocking the other person. With each action, we continue to insulate ourselves from other opinions and are only exposed to information that is pleasing to our eye. We run the risk of falsely concluding that everyone thinks the way we do and are even more confused and, on the defense, when someone shares a differing view.
5. Conflict Avoidance
The unfriend and block button has made it very easy to stop a conversation before it can actually start. Unlike social media, our world is filled with just as many unique individuals as there are opinions. By using this strategy as our only tool to manage conflict we run the risk of preventing ourselves from developing a diverse support network, and never get to practice working through misunderstandings when they occur.
In conclusion, social media has given us many great things over the past 15 years. Yet it is a poor substitute for developing and maintaining quality relationships. Nothing can replace taking a conversation offline where two people can not only express opinions but also be able to explore why each of us holds our opinions as true without the noise or attack from others.