The Double Edged Sword: Technology!

By James O’Hagan

Hello, Hi, Hey, What’s up, what’s good, and Yo! Seems that these greetings are common between friends, but what happened to saying hi to perfect strangers?  Hi, I’m James and I grew up in the 80’s, which was a time when everything was a lot more laid back. We felt more at ease. Now, I was a kid then so it didn’t impact me as much as it did the adults. Kids always said hi to each other and were more willing to communicate face to face then… what choice did we have, we didn’t have cell phones, Internet, blogs, IM’s MySpace, FaceBook, or Twitter. To hang out with your friends you had to walk over to their houses, and knock on the front door, and ask their parents if they could come out.  I guess now I’m showing my age of course, but, that’s ok, it was great to be able to experience the jump in technology from how it was in the 80’s.

But, there is some down falls to our newfound communication conduits. Since the creation of cell phones, the ones we could afford, the world as Generation X knew it, changed dramatically.  From, letters to email, from phones calls to texts, has the world has gotten… lazy?  Maybe! I feel that the world has changed and one of the reasons that these changes maybe good is it makes people feel safe, because there is a barrier between them and the person they are interacting with.  But, it’s also a shame, that we can’t even lift our heads far enough to acknowledge when someone says hi to them face to face. With our noses stuck to our smart phones, we can easily type, “Yeah, I need 4 more friends for Mafia Wars”, but can’t pay attention to the people around us.

With the creation of texting, facebook, and twitter, the normal hello you may have heard years ago no longer resonate from the mouth, but, from the fingertips, and not to the person in front of them, but, someone in the next class, next city, or next country.  I personally did a quick test, sitting in our Fine Arts Buildings rest area, throwing just a simple “Hi” or “What’s up” to my fellow students that passed by, Out of them I greeted 20 students, 10 male, and 10 female. Out of the males, I was able to get a pleasant response to 7 out of 10. Now, with the females, I was only able to get 5 out of 10, but I think one student was wearing ear buds and possibly didn’t hear my greeting.  My hopes are that one day we can go back to saying hello, face to face, and not worry about if that person has a FaceBook or a Twitter account.

This addition of brand new and advanced social media focused smart phones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, and now even TV’s has been a curse and a blessing. On the up side it allows for new connections, learning, and, even new employment opportunities. On the down side, it has taken a new generation of youth and young adults and created an army of social media zombies. The basic practice of saying hi and talking with friends is some what watered down. Instead of friends hanging out and talking face to face, they have resorted to video chatting, while texting, and playing Call of Duty: Black Ops to fulfill their social needs. Then again maybe I’m just old school and if you are curious I do block game requests. If you see me just say hi, and then we can Facebook each other.

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