Listening without action is a waste of time

Technology Has Ruined Human Relationships

Has technology ruined human relationships? Having studied communications, specifically human interaction concerning all the senses  and the innate need for them, I find that social media (SM) has changed the dynamics of how people communicate and it has been negative. Social media takes away verbal and non-verbal communication cues, such as voice inflections (tone, assertion, etc.), eye contact, body language, posture, and a myriad of other cues. These cues are needed in order to read, understand, and respond to our communication partner in appropriate and constructive ways. Without these dynamics, it becomes increasingly more important to be aware of who you are communicating with and the context of the communication itself (Goldsmith, 2010).

SM has become the quicker, easier, less painful way to communicate.  If so, we are in trouble.  How many people have experienced  or heard of relationships that have ended over e-mail, texting, or tweeting?  Remember, context is everything and the medium used to communicate is everything. Without hearing a voice, seeing a face, looking into eyes, holding a hand, and many other triggers, it is difficult to understand the context of a  SM communication. One of two things must happen  in order to have a successful SM communication. First, understand who you are communicating with and how they will interpret your communication. Second, set the stage for the communication.  Remember, that there are a variety of personalities that we deal with on a daily basis.  Lastly, slow down and take the time needed in order to have rewarding and effective social communication. Your family, friends, romantic interests, employer, employees, and business depends on it.

Read this bloggers post on the subject: Miscommunication, the bane of social media! Or is it just me?

Nothing Like Face to Face – SM and the Human Condition Continued

Social media and matters of the heart…can they co-exist? I think so. Let us use online dating as a jumping off point. Social media has made it possible for many single adults to meet. You may ask, “Why is this a big deal?” It is a very big deal considering that many of us do not have an opportunity to meet singles, especially as older adults. Gone are the days of bar hopping or as some would call it, prowling. Supermarkets, work, and church are out. I am a little preoccupied when I am at those places. So, what’s a girl to do? Log onto the internet

Online dating (, or as I like to call virtual dating, is a great example of how social media has enhanced that human condition or at the very least provided another, more viable opportunity or tool. Like the telephone, the computer, with the help of the internet, has made it possible for single women (and men) to venture out, safely, and find potential matches. Does it work? From personal experience, I can say that sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. I recall and refer back to this old saying when I think about my success, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.” If you think about it, dating has been this way for a long time. It is an odds game…at least I like to think so.

The key to successful dating, virtual or otherwise, is to be real and true to who you are. Expect this from yourself and your romantic interest. To assist, communication is key, whether by phone, email, text or instant messaging (I will leave off snail mail as it does not have the same instant gratification). If you communicate enough, the true person will be revealed. Human beings will always find away to that romantic partner. It is just a matter of how.

The Human Condition…What Does it Mean?

The Human Condition…What Does it Mean?

In hindsight, I think a definition of the term Human Condition is in order to show the correlation between cause and effect. After all, how can one begin to understand how social media (SM) affects this condition without a defining start. The term has been used throughout time and in many contexts, including religion. For this discussion, I will keep it in the broadest sense, as it relates to communication, so that you can begin to understand SM impact. (2011) defines the human condition as having both positive and negative aspects associated with human existence as it pertains to life events. Though Wikipedia is not the premier source for scholarly information, the identification and summation of all the key components of the condition in a concise way. Wikipedia defines the condition as “encompassing the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, fear of death, etc.” Based on these definitions, it is easy to see the connection and impact that social media has on this condition and why it can not be ignored or discounted.

Because communication connects humans with each other and technology has provided a more convenient to do so, the human condition has once again expanded. In the not so distant past, face-to-face communication was the only way and then came the telephone, which enabled more frequent communication when face-to-face was not possible. In a barrage of hard technology innovation, introduced over the past 15 years, including the computer and cell phone, soft technology (internet) has introduced an even higher level of connectedness not previously witnessed. It is a connectedness with people we many have never had the opportunity otherwise. What does this all mean?

Social media is a means by which humans can connect with each other. This has profound effects and consequences…both positive and negative and it is important to understand both. There must be a balance or moderation associated with using tools of technology and an understanding about the power they hold over the human condition. Remember, we use technology… technology does not use us. That being said, reflection, self-control, and moderation are in order. In an article titled 10 Ways Facebook Can Ruin Your Life, the human condition has been affect drastically by social media and not in a good way. Here is a laundry list of potentially impactful effects on the human condition as detailed in the article:

1. You’ll be reunited with your biological parents.
2. Your creditors can track you down.
3. Insurers can deny your claim.
4. Your ex can use it against you in a divorce.
5. It can make you depressed
6. It can cost you a job.
7. It can out you to your family.
8. It can make it easier for your stalker or abusive partner to follow your movements.
9. You can be sued for libel.
10.Your kids could be targeted by predators.

I would encourage you to read the short article for a more detailed explanation; however, I believe this list is pretty self-explanatory. Now, not all social media communication is negative. Many SM communications have had profoundly positive affects on the lives of many people. Media is filled with wonderful stories of how the human condition, enhanced by social media, has improved. I am curtain we all have stories to share that are both positive and not so positive. Just remember, social media is a tool for communication and as such, there must be a discipline…one that must consider the impact on someone else’s human condition.

The Human Condition Unfiltered

The social media (SM) phenomenon comes with the inevitable influx of too much or too little information. I struggle with this all the time in my own SM communication. Even though the medium is, by its very nature, uncensored, it still begs the question, “How much is too much and how much is not enough information?” Maybe it is my marketing background, my creative side, or maybe it was the way I was raised, nevertheless, I have always framed my communications (SM specifically) around the following precepts or questions and it always occurs at a subconscious level:

1. Why do I want to post my thoughts and do people really need to hear them?

2. Am I framing my thoughts so that my SM message is delivered or conveyed as I intended?

3. Does it do any good or provide a benefit of some kind for my audience?

5. What are the personal benefits of disclosing my thoughts?

Now, you are probably thinking…”Melissa, do you really put this much thought into your posts?” The answer is yes and I’ll tell you why. I know that I cannot control other people and their thoughts, nor do I want to. Ideas, expression, epiphanies, views, and other eye opening forms of communication should never be oppressed. By their very nature, these forms provide insight, reference, guidance, and provoke thoughts about the self and our human condition, both from a personal and social aspect. These spoken thoughts help us grow by providing a perspective through culture, heritage, experience, and provides a feeling of connectedness with our world.

I cannot control others, but I can control myself and the footprint I leave on the human condition. Just like face-to-face communication, I practice reason, selection, control, and any other mechanism that allows me to be an effective communicator. Within a social media context, this is usually many. You could say that SM communication is similar to speaking in front of a large group, only you can do it in your underwear and no one cares if you are wearing makeup.

On that note, do my readers really need to know what I had for lunch today and whether I liked it…maybe, maybe not? If it is framed properly, maybe they do. Did my post offer insight, reference, guidance, a smile, a provoking thought, or maybe a new idea for a recipe? Then yes, it was worth posting. However, if I simply stated that the restaurant “sucked”, then no, it is not worth posting because there is no frame or purpose, but merely a gut reiteration of frustration. Clearly, it is important to treat social media communication (like other forms of communication) with some filtered control, especially if I what people to listen.

Social Media Inspired Human Condition

Social Media and the Human Condition

Speaking of social media and its impact on everyday life, I was on a blind date and as we all know those can sometimes be a bit scary…not this time, it was great. It was a cool early evening in Tampa, Florida. It was only about 75, which was a 20 degree drop from previous evenings. I loved it as I hail from Spokane, WA and this is nice. As my date and I were enjoying a beer and engaging in stimulating conversation, I paused to look around me at the outdoor bistro and at first noticed that there were a lot of couples doing the same thing. Some where across from each other talking and others were snuggled up close enjoying the silence. This was not unusual, but what was unusual was that 75 percent of them were also using social media or technology at the same time. Some couples were peering into a phone looking at something interesting, maybe a Facebook post or a photo, others were texting across the table from each other, and still others were taking pictures of each other. There were even couples watching sporting events on the numerous TVs. I found this all very unusual and a little concerning. Regardless of my alarm, they all looked right at home in their world of social technology. I mentioned it to my date, but he did not find it at all unusual. Thankfully, he kept his phone in his pocket.

This blog is dedicated to social media (SM) and its impact on everyday life. It will outline the positive and not so positive aspects of the medium. Some posts may be antidotal in nature and others may be on the humorous side. Nevertheless, the core theme will be a focus on the impact SM has on human interaction and communication, thus the human condition.

Update: For those who care to know…though the date went wonderful, it was the first and last (his choosing). Maybe it was because I didn’t whip out my cell phone and check Facebook…go figure! On to the next frog!

Greetings Classmates

This is my very first blog…ever. My site is a work in progress, so be kind. Any advice or critiquing would be welcome. Hey, anyone know how to change the tag line under my user name at the top?!?

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