Technology: it’s everywhere we turn. We use it to communicate with clients, family and even newly acquired Internet friends. But what does this mean for our personal lives, especially our interpersonal relationships? Are we missing out on what lies beyond our iPhone screens?
At a June 11 New York Women in Communications Cocktails & Conversations event held at AOL, a panel of experts gave their take on what they think is in store for the future in terms of how we communicate.
Liz Kaplow, president and CEO of Kaplow Communications, kicked off the conversation by stating that, “Communications at its very best can be life changing.” She then went on to point out what many of us know to be true: With the constant stream of technology, there is a pressure and expectation to be always-on.
Lisa Stone, co-founder and CEO of BlogHer cited a recent study stating that a common theme regarding technology is how it is habit-forming. For many women, the ability to work from home has made technology a blessing, while the feeling of it being out of our control has simultaneously made it feel like a curse.
The ease of which we have access to tech 24/7 can come with consequences, one being that there is always an opportunity to be contacted or even photographed by anyone at any time. Dana Points, editor-in-chief of Parents and American Baby, points out how these days you are an extension of your employer, and that this constant documentation could possibly tarnish your reputation.
Sarah Davanzo, chief cultural strategy officer at Sparks & Honey, brought up how some restaurants are even starting to ask patrons to leave their phones at the door. This is part of what everyone needs from time to time: a digital detox. “You have to disconnect in order to be creative,” she says.
Points went on to express her concern for kids who are growing up amidst the digital age, saying that there’s a fear of children growing up deficient in empathy. Since nowadays kids know how to text even as early as six or eight years old, they are starting to have virtual conversations without the ability to see true emotions.
This is not just a problem for children developing communication skills. Stone again cites her survey, saying that 28 percent of people claim to be listening to a conversation while playing on their phone, yet 79 percent claim they don’t feel listened to when someone else is doing so. So what does this all mean for real, one-on-one conversations?
We are turning into a visual world -- filled with emojis, Snapchat and selfies – but it’s not a precise way of communicating. Davanzo foresees the future of communications to include speaking in visuals, saying that if you want to get your idea across, you’ve got to be able to do it visually.
What do you think? Is it possible to use what’s great about technology without compromising the human experience?
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