What the Internet allows us to do — Communication in the 21st century
Imagine a situation: it’s a middle of a cold winter night, you are standing in a queue at a post office, waiting for a phone connection to call your family member who lives on another continent. You have been awaiting for over four hours surrounded by dozen of people doing the same thing. Finally your turn comes, you have 5 minutes to use the phone, the connection is very weak and you know you are being overheard by the Security Service. Sounds unreal? For us, millenials, who are used to having non stop internet connection and possibility to ‘facetime’ our friends whenever we want, it may look like a story created by George Orwell. But it’s not — it’s a reality from communist Poland almost fifty years ago.
Nowadays, communication has never been easier. We have multiple social media platforms, through which we are able to contact anyone within 10 seconds or share our views to a wide group of recipients. Whether years ago communication was perceived as simply talking to other person directly or over the phone now we can add to that checking and posting on your social media accounts constantly. We live in the information society in which the Internet has become an essential medium used for communication and gathering data. Through the Internet you are able to communicate at any time of day/night, every day of the year via e-mail, mailing lists, forums and chats.
With the increasing popularity of Internet, people have invented new ways of communication, so that their opinions and views can reach wide audience The most popular example is Youtube — anyone is allowed to create an account and upload videos covering whatever topic they want and get feedback from the viewers in the comments box. Over the past years Youtubers have become the most influential people on the Internet, just like Intagrammers who communicate with their audience through posted content.
Danah Boyd in her book “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” gives a very interesting example of a teenager who communicates with their friends and expresses emotion through music posted on Facebook — in that case the teenager is able to inform their friends how they feel without saying it directly.
On a daily basis we express our emotions in a very simple way — talking about them, shouthing, laughing or crying (using not only words but also changing the tone of the voice). It is completely different on the Internet — users communicate with each other mostly with the help of written words (except for videos and skyping). Unfortunately, written words do not give us an image of our interlocutor We can only guess it on the basis of what they write (or used emojis) what are their emotions, social status, attiude or physical appearance.
The development of the Internet has allowed us unimaginably much in the field of communication, what we often take for granted and not appreciate, because we are used to it. Exchanging information has never been easier and thanks to that people are more creative than ever and are able to choose in which way they want to communicate with each other.
boyd, d. (2014). It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 54–76.