The Impact of the Digital Age on Human Engagement

A quick look into how technology has influenced the way we interact

Scientific progress in computer microchips have marked the beginning of the Information Age period in human history during the second part of the last century. The technological advancements in communication and information processes have greatly impacted our daily lives and have been the driving force of social evolution for the last several decades. Ever since the Internet entered our daily lives, we have seen a rise in what has been termed “social technologies” — essentially, any application of technology that facilitates interaction.

With the plethora of social media websites and automation services available to us and accessible through a single pocket device, the way we interact with each other has completely changed. How has this affected humans as social beings? Have we improved our engagement, or has it suffered because of technology?

Social interaction moved online

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat — all these platforms share a common characteristic: enabling communication and sharing of experiences across borders and time constraints. You can easily greet your friends from different countries on their birthdays or any other social occasion instantly, without worry about missing anything, since everything is online.

There are several factors that influence the fast development and adoption of innovations. As world population grows, so does the number of Internet users across the globe. Furthermore, devices are getting more powerful, as smartphones today are more powerful than some laptops 5 years ago. Lastly, software applications have been increasing in complexity in terms of capabilities, but also decreasing in complexity of use.

All these lead to some interesting results — for one, we spend more and more time online (Britons spend more time on tech than asleep). However, evidence shows we still prefer human interaction. We can conclude that users want everything to be accessible online — but they want someone to be on the other side. Digital media, then, should be seen as a vehicle to facilitate communication — not replace it completely.

A report published by the World Economic Forum provides interesting insights on how people across the globe use social media and how it has affected our lives. Results show that the effects of technology on social interaction differ across countries. Generally, people from developing countries perceive effects of social technology better than users from developed economies. Regardless of location, though, people mostly agree that social media helps them maintain relationships with their friends.

Check out the infographic below for more interesting info, and if you would like to read the full report, you can do so here.

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About the author:

Anton Bonev — a Bulgarian expatriate — is a marketing professional with a Master’s degree in Marketing Management from one of the top research universities in the Netherlands. Currently working as a Digital Marketing Consultant at John Clements Consultants, he is assisting the company in becoming the leading digital recruitment solutions provider in the Philippines.