Our generation is jam packed with ways to get in touch with each other at any point in time. You would think this would make us better communicators. I would hardly agree.
It dawned on me when I was having trouble with my AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) last year. I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown because it would not let me log on to my buddy list. This lasted for a couple of days. During one of these days I discovered AIM Express, which is a version of AIM that works off of your browser.
The problem with all of this is that I could have used either of my two e-mail addresses, Facebook, Myspace, Skype or even my cell phone if I really wanted to talk to my friends that badly. It would have saved me a whole bunch of stress if I had thought that maybe these routes of communication were just as useful.
Honestly, our generation has grown up with the ability to be picky about who we talk to, how frequently and through what medium. Our more distant friends can be reached every now and then through e-mail, our close friends through Facebook and AIM, our very close friends through webcam and our loved ones on the phone. Each person in our life has their own level of communication attached to them, and it becomes difficult to talk to them if the prescribed form of communication is unavailable to us.
I know this is true due to the fact that some of my friends cannot handle a simple phone call. My best female friend back home prefers to use either AIM or text messaging. Personally, I see text messaging as a necessary evil. It is perfectly acceptable for some things, but not something I am willing to use for a full blown conversation. I only get 200 text messages a month. When my friends try to use it as a way to plan group events or chat with me I usually end up calling them, only to have my call rejected. They do this because they do not have the time and are not in the position to have a spoken conversation and they probably should not be texting me in the first place.
Dependence on e-mail is also a frustrating part of living in these times. Students all have to face the reality that when they enter college they are going to be checking their e-mail about 10 to 20 times a day. If they do not, then they are most likely going to miss something important, which when working in a group situation can throw a bunch of other people off. It is almost ridiculous how much we have to rely on this route of communication, but for a university it is the most ideal way to get information out to a large number of people quickly.
It is saddening how much the times have changed our most preferred modes of communication. There is no doubt that many people would rather speak through a computer than to another person
In recent years there has been a surge in social Web sites. These Web sites are not limited to social networking, they expand to cover a variety of Web sites, each dedicated to sharing parts of peoples’ lives. These things can span from humor to art. The Internet has just become another device to express oneself. This usage of the Internet as a form of expression is the natural progression as social Web sites become more common. Whether humorous or not these sites are a good way to waste time or brighten a bad day.
This is an example of one of the more humorous social Web sites. On this site people post everyday stories where things have gone wrong. The stories can range from being humorous and funny to being down right disgusting. The only real issue with this site is that as it has grown more and more popular as the stories have become rather outlandish and at times, clearly made up. This Web site is now actively documenting the best of its stories and puttingm them in a book that will be published later this year.
TFLN is a Web site that documents those texts that probably would have been better off not sent; these generally involve drunk texts, stupid texts. The vast majority of the texts found on the Web site are either extremely funny or just nasty at times. The Web site has a somewhat unique way to rate submissions. You can either rate the post as being a good night or a bad night. The vast majority of posts on TFLN come off as being genuine, even the odder ones. This is definitely a great site to waste time between classes.
This is the third in several very similar websites that give a brief glimpse into peoples’ lives. My Life is Average is a Web site very similar to FML. The main difference between MLIA and FML is that FML focuses on how things have gone horribly wrong, whereas MLIA focuses on everyday things. The things which the story cover can be negative, positive or just down-right strange at times.
The sites above are purely social. While not encouraging networking they do allow people to reveal glimpses of their everyday lives. In this way, they are social Web sites creating a line of communication that would not normally be there. There are sites designed purely for socializing, though the majority of those Web sites are well known. Examples of such sites are Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. Twitter may not be not as widely used as the other two, because the concept of a micro blog is still rather new, but it is quickly gaining ground on the others. Myspace and Facebook, both of which are extremely well known social networking sites, also fall into this category of social Web sites.
On the note about Twitter you can follow me @whimtech on Twitter.