Social Media's Impact on Face-to-Face Communication in America

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It has been argued that the strength of one’s society is based upon the social rules it embraces. These rules while sometimes simple and easily identified can at other times be complicated with unwritten presupposed conditions that strong social communities rely upon as their principle governing conduct. This conduct can be exemplified in the way its citizens communicate ideas, interact with one another, accept personal responsibility for their actions, and participate in the community as a whole. Social media’s lack of face-to-face contact is leading to the collapse of these social rules and consequently to the decline of social skills in America today.
In the last twenty-five years, advancements in technology combined with the unbridled growth of social media, has dramatically altered not only the methods used to communicate but the linguistics as well. The meteoric rise in the use of new media sources have resulted in the creation of a type of shorthand English. With today’s social media, abbreviations such as LOL, OMG, BRB, and ROFL are easily recognizable by its followers yet remain a mystery to those not connected. The preference of the younger generation for social media such as texting, Twitter, and Facebook over face–to-face communication has not only had an effect on communication skills, but has also led to a further disconnect with the adult population. Twenty years ago, when a family went out to dinner it was considered family time; an opportunity for all the family members to get caught up with what was going on in each other’s life. Today, watching that same family outing, one is much more likely to see each of them sitting at the same table, looking down at a smart phone texting, and very little if any co...

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...of the list. It has been said that it is not necessarily what one says or even particularly how they say it, but how the person being spoken to hears it that counts. The need to properly express one’s self is drastically reduced when the comments made are to a person one thousand miles away. This disconnect provides a false sense of security and the detrimental consequences could be felt for an entire generation. With teens devoting more and more time to on-line social media, the safety net of non-face-to-face communication is already having adverse effects. “Teens are showing ‘a decrease in risk taking’ from previous generations when it comes to expressing themselves and interacting with other people”, says Katie Davis (Clemmitt 5). How can we expect our society to survive if a whole generation loses its ability or desire to openly communicate face-to-face?

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