The Evolution of Communication

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Communication over the years has changed drastically, from sending letters that would take days to deliver to iMessage and emails that can be delivered in a matter of seconds. We now live in a fast-paced society and the technology we use can help us keep up. From the original MSN Messenger chat to Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, our communication is changing drastically from year to year.

 

In the beginning of the internet craze, around the mid 1990’s, we experienced new ways of communication such as Yahoo chat rooms and emails. Even though the internet had been around since the 70’s, it wasn’t used for social or personal purposes. During this time, we didn’t have our smart phones in our pockets every second and when we were sitting at home using the desktop, dial-up made the process painfully slow.

 

It was around this time we seen the popular abbreviations begin to be used. Jargon such as LOL and OMG began to gain acceptance throughout the users and is still used today. Many different aspects of communication has changed since the late 90’s, but this is so widely used it won’t be fading anytime soon.

msn

The Verge

 

Emails and chat rooms changed the game and has help develop the technology and forms of communication we use on a regular basis in today’s world. In the beginning many people believed the internet and computers would lead to people becoming less social and isolated. Over the years it has proven to do the exact opposite. With the creation of social media, it has given millions of individuals the ability to keep up with current events, talk to people around the world, and has served as an outlet for self-expression and self-exploration.

 

Today we recognize different types of chat rooms and instant messenger apps. One of the most popular chat services is Snapchat. On average, active snapchat users open the app 25 times a day and spend about 34.5 minutes a day using it. Since it launched in 2011, it has become increasingly more popular and widely used.

 

We see a fairly large difference in the way different generations communicate. From the apps used to the wording and abbreviations we see today in everyday life. Its obvious that the younger generation prefers to communicate via text, messenger, or snapchat. According to Omnicore, 45% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 24 and 71% of users in this age group use the app multiple times every day.

 

Older generations still tend to rely on calling rather than texting because it’s more familiar to them and most of the time faster. The choice of apps and sites differ considerably from generation to generation.  Older users didn’t grow up leaning and changing with the the advanced technology we have today like teens and young adults today did.

 

According to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, most participants of the study (ages 65-76) were willing to learn and wanted to embrace new technology but found issues in the understanding aspect of how the devices worked. They explained they had less comfort, less efficiency and control over the computer but working with the technology increased their moods.

 

It’s not hard to see the difference in how generations use social media differently by watching family and friends use Facebook for example. When Facebook began to gain popularity, the majority of users were young people connecting with friends and peers. Today more and more users are in the older generation. They tend to use the site to reconnect with old friends and to keep up with family.

 

Another change that we have seen is privacy, or lack of. In most communication forms, you can see when the receiver has viewed the message, or at least when it was delivered. In most apps or messenger sites you can easily turn this setting off, however, in apps such as WhatsApp, it could be a bit tricky to figure out. Snapchat recently created their maps feature. This allows you to see where your snapchat friends were located the last time they opened the app. This caused great concern for many users and parents.

 

Another major change since technology has become a part of everyday life is the ease of communication. Email was one of the first services that began the revolution and still to this day continues to be widely used by most Americans.

 

Since cell phones have become popular, its ridiculously easy and fast to communicate with others. At any time, we can pull out our phone and call or text anyone we need to. Thinking back to before cell phones were invented, people would go to work and be out of reach until they returned home that evening. In our society today, if we want to text our significant other a quick reminder or check up on a child away at school, all it takes is a few seconds to click their number from the recent call list and there they are on the other line, talking as though you’re in the same room.

 

 

Along with the constant contact and instant communication that is available today we can see some major problems with this. Cyberbullying has become an increasingly serious problem for users all over the world. Since over 80% of teens own and use cell phones regularly, it’s no surprise this is the most common way for cyberbullying to occur. According to DoSomething, 70% of students report seeing bullying online on a regular basis and 81% believe that bulling someone online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.

 

There are countess sites available for online dating and love or romance chat rooms. Many people believe the reason these are so popular is the fact that when users are online communicating with others, they are more comfortable and can express themselves more easily. The thought comes from the fact they have never met these individuals before therefore care less if they are judged. The same idea of being more comfortable and expressive online can be related back to cyberbullying. Users tend to be more brave online rather than in person.

 

When looking for love today, it’s as easy as downloading an app and swiping right or left. There are countless dating websites available focused on different lifestyles or ages. Some of the most popular dating sites include Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Match.  Some others that have become popular are Farmers Only, 420 Singles, and Christian Mingle.

 

In our culture today, it’s not uncommon to hear someone going on a date or meeting up with someone they met online. According to eHarmony, 40% of Americans use online dating and 20% of current, committed relationships began online. Over the years, the way that people find a significant other has changed an extreme amount.

dating graph

MIT Technology Review

 

Technology has changed practically everything about communication. From the abbreviations we use to life changing events such as dating and marriage. Although no one knows what exactly the future has in store for our technology and culture of communication, it will be sure to change and shape us the way it already has.