Who Needs Company When You Have A Cellphone?

As a disclaimer, I am an extrovert. I love talking with people, but I especially love to meet people. So as I am writing I apologize if it seems like I am only looking at this topic as an extroverted Interpersonal Communication major, but I find that our communication style has greatly changed due to technology. Last week I took a bus and train into Philadelphia. I sat next to a lot of seemingly lovely people, but we did not speak, at all. We did not say hello, and we did not even make eye contact. Each person around me had their face illuminated by the screen in front of them from texting someone else, listening to music, reading, or whatever else was being displayed on their screen taking up their time. This past year I have traveled through a few counties in Europe and South America. In countries with less reliable and widespread WiFi than the connection we have in the United States, I met so many people on public transportation. In London, a man asked me my name and once I told him he began singing Alicia Keys’s songs to me and would not stop until the entire car sang with us. Then in Ireland a man told me his life story on a bus from Dublin to Galway; he has a lovely family but is not very content with his job. While I was sitting in a town square in Nicaragua, a young girl about the age of 5 came and sat next to me and spoke to me for about a half an hour. Unfortunately I do not speak Spanish so I have no idea what she was talking about. These instances show how technology has disconnected people on a more personal level. Even worse, these stories also show how addicting and easy it is to become lost in technology because I am guilty of it too. Technology allows us to avoid taking a brave step to meet people, and despite my experiences in those countries I also hide behind the ease of technology. When I am in an awkward situation, the first thing I do is take out my phone and pretend that I am busy. Don’t deny it, you know you’ve done it as well.

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