How has the Internet, technological advances, social networks, and other technological forms of communication affected your social interaction?Provide advantages, disadvantages, and examples to...

How has the Internet, technological advances, social networks, and other technological forms of communication affected your social interaction?

Provide advantages, disadvantages, and examples to support your position.

Expert Answers
MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I think it would be incredibly easy for me to stay connected with others through a social networking site, there are several reasons I refuse to set up an account on any of them.

  • I prefer face-to-face contact, or, barring that, hearing someone's voice over the phone. Of course, people say I should then sign up for Skype, since I'll be getting both of those.
  • As a teacher, I'm very wary about developing any kind of personal page. Some have suggested that I make two pages: one for friends/family, & one for students. However, I don't trust teenagers enough to censor themselves, and I've heard too many stories of teachers who have suffered because of content on their students' pages, which were linked to theirs. I'm not about to set myself up for that.
  • While the ease of communication is tempting, I don't really care what someone answered on a quiz, or if they like a TV show, or what they had for lunch. Again, I can find out those things just as easily through other means.
  • Finally, I don't have time. My day is busy enough without updating my status or posting on walls. I am impressed by teachers who have the ability to integrate social networking into an otherwise packed schedule...but I'm not one of them.
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I didn't have a cell phone until 4 years ago (I was 2 years out of college and had been married almost a year). I prided myself on the fact that I was able to survive without one.  (Hah.)

Now we don't even have a home phone.  I realize that right now cell phones hardly seem like a technological advancement, but it has certainly changed the way I view importance of phone calls.  During the day, I will not answer the phone for anyone unworthy of using my minutes.  I certainly won't answer any call whose number I do not recognize.  Not only that, but I've even put phone calls on the back burner and schedule most social activities with text messages.

I also have a friend who does not currently have internet at her house.  She doesn't even own an email address and of course isn't on facebook or anything like that.  It sounds silly, but she lives within 10 minutes of me, we work out at the same gym and shop at the same grocery store and have several mutual friends/kid friendly daily activities, and I rarely keep in touch with her.  And when I haven't seen or talked to her in a long time, I always say, "Well, you don't have internet.  If you had email or facebook it would be different."  And sadly, it would.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I still don't have a cell phone, but my husband does.  Facebook and the internet have helped me to keep in touch with all the people I've met all over the world through my work and through my husband's being in the Marine Corps.  Email has become for me the easiest and best way to communicate, and if it were taken away now, I'd be a little lost although I still send handmade notes to friends on occasion.  The point is, most of my friends don't bother writing letters, so without email or FB, I'd probably never hear from them again.  Plus, email is faster and cheaper than snailmail...I guess that's one more reason why our society is a push-button impatient one...we don't want to wait, and maybe have even lost the ability to wait for things like that all-important letter or package to arrive.

The DVR on our TV is another example of that.  We rarely watch a TV show when it airs.  It's recorded, and we watch it when we are able (most of the time, I opt out of TV for reading, but my husband enjoys his shows).  Before DVRs, if you were working or had an engagement, you just missed the show and had to find out about it from friends the next day. 

dastice eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am a huge fan of technology, and find that I prefer to communicate via text, email, and Facebook over phone calls and face-to-face interaction.  The biggest advantage to these less personal forms of communication is the huge amount of time that can be saved.  There is no need to proceed through all of the formalities that generally accompany more "authentic" forms of is far easier to get straight to the point.  In addition, using text, email, and social media allows you to communicate at your convenience.  You are never interrupted, as you are with a phone call or somebody dropping by.

I do see that there can be a downside to this...namely that it is easy to become isolated with such a lifestyle.  As long as we still spend quality time with those we care about to prevent this from happening, I say bring on the technology!

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I recently moved a thousand miles away from a place I'd lived for more than ten years; staying connected was important enough to me that I caved and got a facebook acoount.  I, too, have had former students, friends, former colleagues, and whoever else get in touch with me (or me with them) and I love it.  I've Skyped and Oovood, as well.  Same thing with the not-so-recent technologies of texting, cell phone, and e-mail.  Life is so much easier.

On the flip side, I spend a lot of time keeping current with those same friendships I just mentioned--sometimes at the cost of current relationships and activities.  Sometimes I resent that all my "friends" can know my business, when I really only wanted my real friends to know.  Often I regret being so tied to a computer; when I'm not regretting it, though, I'm loving it.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While there are many advantages to cyberspace, there is something to be said for the warmth of vis-a-vis contact with a friend "before whom I may think aloud." (Emerson).  And, there is much to be said for the delight that those anachronistic ones of us take in reading and rereading the notes from dear, genuine friends.  Studies have revealed that people open their hearts more and are more truthful when they set pen to paper.  There is a physicality to the movement of arm, hand, and its contact with actual paper that cannot be replaced by transitory type.

Thank goodness people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson,Henry David Thoreau, Jean Jaques Rousseau, Rene Descartes, Voltaire, and all other great thinkers wrote down their ideas and they were not inadvertently deleted!

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous posts were all valid.  I think it's very interesting to read the thoughts of those who don't have technology as being "left behind."  Whether we like it or not, I think that this is becoming sadly true.  Policy, especially in the realm of education, has to be geared towards what to do about this "digital divide."  It seems that kids, even at the youngest of ages, have significant advantages in schooling if they possess technology savvy than those who don't.  This gap intensifies over time and I think that being able to ensure that the digital divide is either eliminated or minimized to the best of our abilities is critical for all stakeholders.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For me personally, it has expanded the circle of people that I am able to keep in touch with.

In the old days, once my students graduated, I more or less lost track of them.  I would see them perhaps once a year if they came to a football game or something.  But now, I am friends on Facebook with many of my former students and am able to keep up with what is going on in their lives.

I do not really see any disadvantages to this.  For me, social networking and the internet technology that allows it are completely beneficial because they allow me to be part of the lives of more people than I used to.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I ran into one of my old student about 10 months ago, and she suggested I join Facebook. I laughed. The next day, I ran into another who suggested the same. Within a few short weeks, I had more than 100 of my old students as Facebook friends. I have since reconnected with nearly 300 of my old students, as well as nearly 200 old friends and acquaintances from my high school and college days. It's a great way to keep up with people around the country and the world who you might otherwise never see or hear from again.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Work and family commitments don't really afford me much opportunities to travel or socialize. The technological advances of social networks has allowed me to be more social with good friends from my past. Through these interactions I find a sort of relaxation I might not have otherwise found.

Wiggin42 | Student

Yes,to a certain extend it affects the communication. People choose to text than to talk because of time constraint.But it reduces the interaction between people. Everything shared and viewed through social media lacks human touch and creativity. It took bullying to a higher level and privacy factor is also questionable.