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Impact of IT on Interpersonal Communication

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 2201 words Published: 27th Jul 2017

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Advances in technology have changed the nature of interpersonal communication.

Communication is an important aspect of our everyday lives, it is constantly occurring weather its verbal or nonverbal communication. “Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed” (James Carey 1989).

Technology has had a huge effect on the world and Interpersonal communication, especially since new advances in technology have been established. It has contributed in shaping the way that people communicate with each other. It is a debatable topic on whether the advances in technology has changed interpersonal communication for the better or for the worse. It has made changes to the world which enables us to do things time efficiently and effectively. The more advanced technology has become it has allowed information to travel faster, this has a huge effect on today’s generation, especially with the recent obsession that people have with social media.

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Social media allows people to connect with people they know, people they don’t know and even others that they won’t expect to interact with again. Before advances in technology were discovered, people were limited to interacting face to face because there was no other way to whereas now with the progression and the development of technology, it allows people to interact with people all over the world to a much larger audience.

Social media has most affected the nature of interpersonal communication, this is due to the way it has changed the way that people interact, and has caused a loss for social skills. There are incapable of interacting face to face due to how dependent they are of social media. Social media has created a sense of social relief for people who are socially awkward, this is because it’s easier way for them to communicate with people via social media platforms behind an electronic device.

Social media creates a fake world where you can perceive yourself to the world however you like while hiding behind a screen. This isn’t always a good thing, with social media you to put out an image of yourself that isn’t real, its fake. Before the advances in technology, people had to learn to accept you for the way you are, you had no choice in deciding how to perceive yourself to the world other than to be yourself.

Nowadays this generation are obsessed with their phones, people are on it so much that it makes them completely unaware of their surroundings. Conversation has become forced, where as before, people would naturally convers and the conversation would flow. A lot of the time people think of what to say because they have become so used to interacting using the same basic questions on social media such as “how are you?”, “how was your day”, that when it comes to interacting with people face to face, they have to think about what to ask. These questions have been asked so much that it’s become a norm for people to ask how you are at the beginning of a conversation especially on social media. The question “how are you” has become more of a conversation starter rather than a genuine question. This is a problem because it has made the generation of today lazy. There are people who use communication technology to talk to someone in the same room as them which displays lazy behaviour and is a prime example of how this generation have lost social skills.

Before advances in technology, people genuinely cared about the questions that they asked because this was valued conversation and they were limited to what they could talk about. This generation, there is the internet, television, radio, game consoles, mobile phones and more that allows us to have access to different worlds and  interacting with people that we don’t know from all over the place. Social media and technology allows people to interact and find people who have similar interests, for example people who have “Twitter” created a trending aspect that allows you to find people who have similar interests and it is called “Hashtag”. Hashtagging has a huge effect on communication on social media nower days. The hashtags have gone from a random symbol to being a global symbol that can bring communities and people together from all over the world with the use of a relevant word, that people use to make trends or discussions known to the world. Hashtags can also be a form of online marketing which can be used by business to advertise their company as it is an effective way of getting a message or idea or information across to the world. This is called mass communication.

Advances in communication technology such as Email, Texting, Chat rooms, Social media sites, allows you to interact with people from all over the world on one platform, before technology a small bit of information would take a long time to reach the place it needed to go by writing letters and through word of mouth, meanwhile a small bit of information could be delivered within a matter of minutes from one end of the world to the next via the internet. This can be beneficial in ways for example, companies that employ people from far sway destinations can communicate and do interviews over skype rather than have them travel a long way for an hour interview if that.

This then leads to the next point, people who live abroad or far from their family depend on technology and social media to communicate with them. Skype and facetime and other apps like this enable people who live far from their families and close ones to see them via live video call, even the telephone allows us to hear their voice. Before technology people were limited to letters that would take ages to be delivered, and isn’t the same because there’s only so much you can express through written context.

Texting isn’t as efficient and effective as face to face communication because technology communication is a lot different because you can only see words, and it is difficult to establish the semiotics of the conversation for example, when you are talking via text, it’s hard to see what the social codes are of the other person, how do they react and behave in different situations? If you were to say something over text, you are unable to see their reaction to what you said unlike in face to face. So, with communicating via text, the person could lie about their reaction which loses the value of its conversation because then it becomes fake. Not only this but we would not be able to see bodily codes such as, head nods, facial; expressions, gestures, postures etc. This is all part of ritualised discourse.

This is where the emoji’s are evolved. Emoji’s are used to represent reaction, mood or facial expression in text. The evolution of emoji’s has extended so much that you have an emoji for almost every emotion in order for it to become easier and more fun to communicate, although even with this invention, technology communication will never beat face to face communication.

Tidwell and Walther documented computer mediated conversation and face to face communication couples engaging in their first meetings and they had discovered that computer mediated conversation partners displayed more self -disclosures and greater intensity leading to quicker relational development. (Tidwell and Walther, 2002, pg147-148)

Technology communication doesn’t allow you to see the nonverbal communication aspect of interaction, which is considered an important if not of the most important parts of communication. Nonverbal communication in face to face communication allows us to focus on the body language and the facial expressions which reinforces the message whereas communication technology doesn’t. Przybylski and Weinstein (2012) carried out and study and showed results that mobile phone communication in public interferes with human relationships. Two experiments were carried out which showed that they have an effect on, closeness, connection and conversation quality especially when conversing about personal meaningful topics.

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A beneficial aspect of advances in communication is the accessibility. It has created different online communication tools which have helped the world become a more connected place. Although for the older generation who didn’t grow up with this type of technology,  they don’t find it as easy as others who were brought up around it , to understand the whole online and technology process which creates a digital divide because they don’t have the same level as expertise with this type of technology as the others do.

Advances in technology have had a huge effect in the style of conversation that is used today in comparison to the style of communication that was used before this technology had been established. When using mobile phone device to communicate it has caused people to use shorter words as the need for longer words isn’t needed when you have symbols and emoji’s to express what you are trying to say, however this creates shortcuts and has caused an ignorance to traditional grammatical rules which one would have said before. This has made conversation become very short and brief and contributes to the loss of conversation value.

This has changed the whole nature of communication, this is due to the advances in communication. One click can online just find huge amounts of information, whereas before if you wanted to find out information, people would have to research by asking different people, reading books, searching through pages and pages which in the meantime would increase their knowledge whilst they are trying to find out one bit of information they are finding more stuff out on the way. Whereas now, anything we type into a search bar it’s there at an instant which has created the laziness.

Campbell and Kwak (2011) carried out a study and had examined weather mobile phone communication influences to an extent than when someone engages in face to face communication with new people in a public setting. The study found some evidence that mobile phone use in public facilitated talking with strangers, for those who rely a lot on mobile phones to exchange information about news.

Social media isn’t the only thing that has affected the nature of interpersonal communication, television has a huge impact as well. How many people in this generation would sit with their family in silence for hours with the TV on. The television is another major aspect that has caused laziness. Many people nower days would consider sitting all together silently spending time together. In the days before advances in technology people would sit in a room and converse with their family, and this was how their family nights would be spent.

Overall I think that Advances in communication has had a huge impact on interpersonal communication today and has changed the nature of it, it has also proved that through the power of the evolution and expansion of new technology being discovered it will continue to affect the nature of interpersonal communication as we know it. Although it has had a huge effect it has also created a lot more means and topics of conversation with more things being discovered online and being able to converse and interact with people around the world, it has mad people because lazy in face to face but it has allowed people to meet people from over the world and discover new things that they couldn’t have without advances in technology.


“Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed” Carey, J (1989). A Cultural Approach To Communication. Routledge, York, N.Y.

Inc, B.H. (2010) How has technology changed communication? Available at: http://www.brighthubpm.com/methods-strategies/79052-exploring-how-technology-has-changed-communication/ (Accessed: 6 January 2017).In-line Citation:(Inc, 2010)

Fenell, Z. (2016) Communication technology pros and cons. Available at: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/communication-technology-pros-cons (Accessed: 6 January 2017).In-line Citation:(Fenell, 2016)

Drago, E. (2015) ‘The effect of technology on face-to-face communication’, Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 6(1).In-line Citation:(Drago, 2015)

Nield, D. (2012) How technology has affected communication. Available at: http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/technology-affected-communication-1432.html (Accessed: 6 January 2017).In-line Citation:(Nield, 2012)

Inc, B.H. (2010) How has technology changed communication? Available at: http://www.brighthubpm.com/methods-strategies/79052-exploring-how-technology-has-changed-communication/ (Accessed: 6 January 2017).In-line Citation:(Inc, 2010)


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