How technology is changing the way we communicate

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Over the years, technology has significantly changed the way we communicate.

Writing a letter and even typing out an e-mail are becoming a thing of the past, as is, it would seem, talking on the phone and even at times, face-to-face conversation, as technology provides us with innovative ways to communicate with each other.

Technology is growing and adapting extremely quickly. It wasn’t actually that long ago when we would write a letter to loved ones abroad (as the phone bill would be astronomical!), or would speak to friends on our home phone to organise meeting up, as we couldn’t communicate once we had left the house.

Although iPad problems can put a stop to this flow of conversation in a way that putting pen to paper can’t, the introduction of smartphones and tablets, and the advancements that have quickly come with them, makes the need to write a letter seem extremely old fashioned. Not only can we now talk and text on the move, we can Whatsapp, Snapchat, write on walls, tweet, Facetime – the possibilities for communication are endless.

But as this 24/7 instant communication via technology allows us to talk to each other more, it also means we are interacting with each other less. As a result we aren’t learning communication skills, which means kids may struggle as they get older.

A lack of vocabulary, which has come about through ‘teenspeak’ such as LOL and BRB – is diminishing even further since they have been able to communicate simply with photos or emojis. Once upon a time we had to type out our feelings; today we express how we feel by inserting a *smiley face*.

As technology has allowed us alternative means of communication it has also changed the way we interact face-to-face in social situations, such as when we sit with friends and rather than speak to each other we are on our phones, scrolling through social media to see what all our other ‘friends’ are up to.

However, it would appear that teenagers are now more confident talking to each other via their smartphones, over text or social media, than traditional face-to-face conversations. Research found that young people felt having a mobile phone made them closer to their friends, with 89% saying it improved their friendship.

The study of 502 people between the ages of 12 and 21 also found that they felt safer leaving the house with their phone, with 76% saying it is because they can get hold of their parents instantly if they need to.

It has also enabled us to talk to those we would never have been able to, as well as allowing instant communication with those across the globe – no longer do we have to hand write a letter, deliver it, wait for it to be received, a reply to be written and the response to make its way back. Now, we can open Whatsapp, see our friend is online, write a message or send a photo and have a response within seconds.

With the speed at which technology is evolving, it probably won’t be long until even these forms of communication are a thing of the past, as new and inventive ways of ‘talking’ to each other become possible.

Take your library on the move with a Kindle

Today’s guest post comes from journalist, copywriter and author Emily Buckley. Over to you, Emily!

First launched in 1997, the Amazon Kindle has revolutionised the way we read. Paying for extra baggage at the airport because you’ve brought ten bestsellers on holiday with you is a thing of the past, as is shoulder ache from lugging a trusty book around with you in your bag all day. With a Kindle, you’ll never run out of books as you can purchase a new one with the push of a button, wherever you are. The great news is that entry level Kindles have come down in price considerably over the years, meaning that everyone should have the opportunity to own their very own portable library.

E-books have fast become the reading device of choice for millions across the globe, evidenced by the fact that in the latter three months of 2010, Amazon sold more e-books than paperback books in the USA for the first time. So why should you buy a Kindle? Although it may seem relatively expensive, it’s the cheapest it’s been since its launch and, as the majority of ebooks are cheaper than their paperback counterparts, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

Admittedly, the Kindle isn’t the only e-reader on the market and if you’ve made the decision to invest in one you’ll have to know choose what sort of reader you want. Essentially it comes down to a choice between a black-and-white e-reader such as the Kindle and a full-colour tablet such as the iPad. When it comes to reading, the Kindle wins hands down. It’s markedly cheaper than all tablets, lightweight (imagine holding aloft an iPad for a long reading session) and comes the closest to replicating the experience of reading a book. The Kindle’s e-ink screen looks surprisingly like printed paper and allows users to read in direct sunlight, something that isn’t possible with the LCD screens utilised by tablets. This makes them great for taking on holiday, or reading in the park in your lunch hour.

The downsides? Unlike tablets, you’re unable to browse the web on a Kindle. However, for those who simply want to read that also means you’re not interrupted by incoming emails, Facebook messages and Tweets, so could be a blessing in disguise. The Kindle’s screen isn’t backlit, which means that additional lighting is necessary in poor lighting conditions, but there is a reason for this. Backlit screens can cause eye strain and tiredness over long periods and as Kindles are designed for book lovers who are likely to lose themselves in books, this obviously isn’t ideal and is the main source of frustration for tablet users when they read. Furthermore, covers with built-in lights and attachable lamps are both available to solve the lighting issue.

A Kindle makes reading on the go so much easier, giving you the ability to download e-books as and when you want to, carry around thousands of books in a tiny piece of equipment, and even hire library books. It is a book lover’s dream.

Journalist, copywriter and author Emily Buckley is both an avid reader and writer of books who would be lost without her Kindle!