We, as human beings, always have something negative to say about new technologies and its effect on the way we socialize with each other. It is the belief of many individuals that mobile technologies have and are separating society as a whole little by little. I would like to think otherwise.
The way we use mobile technologies all depends on the person. Everywhere you go there are people who are so attached to their mobile devices that they seem as if they were in a complete different world, but then you can also find those who are detached from their mobile devices and are actually enjoying the moment. Many people are forced to be on their mobile devices 24/7 due to work which also makes it a lot easier for professionals to get their work done in a timely manner. Because we have such easy access to mobile technologies, we have found and are in the midst of adapting to a new way of social interaction. We are now able to connect with people from all the way across the world and we are able to network with other professionals- expanding our social network by a lot more than you were able to even ten years ago. Mobile devices are a special part of our everyday lives that we will soon see as the norm instead of searching for its negatives rather than focusing on what it brings to us.
Mobile devices are “Always on and always on you,” as Sherry Turkle explains how human beings are attached to their mobile devices and what having one always on/always on you can get you to reach different things. We see people on a daily basis connecting with others through their mobile devices instead of actually having face to face conversations with those around you. As Sherry Turkle explains in her article, “Each person is more likely to be having an encounter with someone miles away than the person in the next chair” (Turkle, 122). Always looking on the brighter side- because of mobile technology one can be avoiding the person in the next chair, but it also gives you access to connect with someone miles away, still interacting with others in a new social way. Fifty years ago, we were still trying to avoid conversations with the people next to you, but instead of having other forms of social interactions we only had one choice – to read a newspaper/magazine or to write. We will always try to avoid those in front of us and reach for other things; it is simply how human beings work. Mobile devices have given us an opportunity to open up our social interactions horizons and see different ways we can socialize with others. Sherry Turkle goes on to say that train stations used to be a place where people interacted with each other, but it is far from the truth. Yes, some people socialized and other read. Today some socialize and some use their mobile devices. It has not changed, we still try to ignore one another – it’s awkward.
Having access to a mobile device gives you a chance to socialize in many different ways. Lee Humphreys explains it well in his article: “Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practice on Mobile Social Networks,” being able to access your social media applications through your mobile device gives you a chance to connect with others a lot easier than before. Most people access their Facebook (65%) and Twitter (60%) through their cellphones (Humphreys, 494). Yes, people are essentially ignoring you to go on Facebook and post a status about you. It’s the truth and we must face it. We are now given options to socialize whether it is on your Facebook/Twitter through your social applications, or have face to face interactions. We have the right to choose how we socialize with one another and as the Humphreys adds, “…distinctions between online and offline interactions are not necessarily helpful and do not reflect the complex ways we engage in social interaction in the contemporary media environment” (495). I personally do not like to judge others by how they choose to socialize; it is something that is personal. Some people may be good at face-to-face interaction and some may be shy and feel as though they could express themselves a little better online than offline. We have options and that’s all that matter. Now, it is up to you to choose what works better.
Social media sites, such as Facebook, are making sure that they are mobile friendly. Being able to access your Facebook profile from your mobile device helps you stay connected with friends on the go. The application for Facebook has evolved into the biggest social network in the world. There are billions of people connected to the site which lets you interact and socialize with people from different cultures that share the same interests, it helps you stay connected with family members and share your happiest and not so happy moments with the ones you want to share those times with. Facebook has made it easy for us to contribute to the world in many different ways and to say that social media is making us less social is ridiculous. Things are always changing and we, we simply learn to adapt.
N.A. 2012.Social Media Changes in the US and its implications for India. 04/06,2014, from: http://lighthouseinsights.in/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/mobile-india.jpg
Turkle, Sherry. (2008). “Always-On/Always-On-You: The Tethered Self.” In Katz, J. E. (Ed.). Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. P. 121-137.