February 10th, 2008 15:05 EST
Media Is The Masses: Media-ting Interactions
We seem to be evading and decreasing the human element in our lives: email, automated phone systems, online shopping, self-checkout lanes.
Plus, the increasing proliferation and infiltration of electronic media into our lives- into our lifestyles- has made our communications more filtered through and mediated by machines. We speak directly to other people increasingly less, these days. We tend to use phones (verbal and texting), email, IMs, message boards, Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube. As if we are going out of our way to de-personalize, and not deal with people.
Have we become unable or unwilling to deal directly with people as individuals? Are we actually now less social as a society, despite appearances?
These digital media seem to be diminishing the quality of communications into a simplification and minimizing of our dialog. (lol, omg, ur?)
Because of these electronic relations, conversation is frequently reduced to superficial blurbs and meaningless small talk.
Especially online, much of our communication consists of what is essentially a plea for attention, since what we are saying often amounts to nothing more than "I was here" and "Look at me".
And rather than speak to someone directly- even when they are near and accessible-many people send emails, IMs and text messages instead. A cybernetic society, we`re letting computers do our interacting for us. Almost as if we can`t (bear or dare to) engage each other personally, without machines as a medium or facilitator.
I`ve never liked, nor understood, using telephones for conversation. It has always been awkward, contrived and distracting to me- especially when the phone signal has interference. For brief relaying of information, sure, a phone is apt and expedient.
But not for extended discussions or socializing. It is so impersonal, so... provisional.
Admittedly, in cases like this post, where I could not reasonably, efficiently or ever get this message to so many people otherwise, using such media is necessary.
Obviously, they have their uses, and their place. But we should try to be frugal in our application of them. All of this technology simultaneously and paradoxically makes us more connected, even as we become ever more isolated and disconnected.
This technology may have given us more avenues of access to each other, but it has also made us less intimate, and less self-sufficient.
I think we have become too dependent on these media, which have become so enmeshed in the way we conduct our lives... to the point that their sudden removal or failure would effectively cause our society to collapse. Such extreme co-dependency puts us at a tragic and pathetic disadvantage, if we were to be separated from our tech.
What if these media became non-functional or unavailable?
How would we react? Almost certainly, there will be a frantic, desperate kind of culture shock and panic.
Do we even remember how to live offline? It is important that we don`t forget how to live without this technology, and how to do for ourselves what we can do for ourselves.
Currently based in Houston Texas, Sean Stubblefield graduated Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television Production. A philosopher poet, Stubblefield has been writing non-fiction for 15 years, and has penned eight books to date. His first book, Paradox: A Journey Inside Out is available today at Amazon.com.
For More Information: http://www.myspace.com/exastral` target=_new>www.myspace.com/exastral.