Communication 2.0: Pros and Cons
The most common description of overwhelming intrusion of technologies into ways and means of our communication may be given like following: “Technology is making communication easier in today's world, but at the expense of personal contact, as many people choose to interact from home in front of a computer screen”. Indeed, typical and usually correct image of communication through modern gadgets and via Internet is an almost totally secluded person sitting in front of the huge monitor and typing endless messages to some occasional “friends” on Twitter or Facebook. It is actually so, yet every innovation has its positive and negative sides which somehow keep in balance with each other.
Widely discussed “excessive” presence of e-mails, tweets and quick messages in modern style of socialization gave rise to the notion “Communication 2.0” (like Web 2.0) [Frenkel]. It means greater dependence of our contacts and friendships on Internet and gadgets, less time spent in personal communication and general loss of some vital part of communication itself. Sometimes – actually quite often – people do not need pure words, they need presence of a close person and simple hand-holding [Siegler]. No messages or “likes” on Facebook can replace this precious experience. Thus, communication which thrives with the help of technology loses its important part – “common”, which makes people real friends and makes them fully share good and bad things happening in life. This is an obvious drawback of virtual communication style, and it is rightly criticized by many – scholars, psychologists, parents, and anybody else in reach of Internet and keyboard [Siegler]. Heated debates on personal vs. cyber communication are taking place widely in the Internet [Siegler] – due to quick spread of information, freedom of speech and borderless area for finding an interested reader, be it Europe, USA, Asia, Australia or even a research station on the North Pole.
Still, this argument “against” already contains a solid argument in favour of this new trend of communication. The global network connects millions of people all around the world and allows quick exchange of information and opinions. It helps to establish links between various interest groups from the most distant locations and creates new forms of activities and socialization. For some, computer really interferes with possible personal contacts, but for others it is a way to start communication, a window to the world for those too shy, not so popular with peers and having interests not supported by people in the immediate environment (but normal and not perverted interests) [Young]. Internet communication may be seen as a kind of simulator, a training which teaches not to be afraid to talk to a stranger, to share opinions and approve or disapprove of others’ ideas – and give grounds for this assessment [Young].
As a researcher claims, “social networking has been perhaps the most popular trend on the Internet over the past several years” [Siegler]. “Social networking” may sound ridiculous as virtual chats and links automatically exclude anything really social, but this is …