Communication 101

My sixteen-year-old sister tells me I should just let it go and lol. That’s when I get worried. I get worried that MSN messenger is a problem that is seeping into our every waking moment.

But before I explain why messaging is bothering me so much I have to make it clear that I understand its benefits.

It is a great way to organize a night out or rides. It’s also a cost-efficient way to stay in touch with family members and friends outside the 613 area code.

But in my humble opinion, this is all it is good for. I believe MSN messenger is creating a serious emotional and social disconnect for our generation.

The first problem is names. Everyone has at least 10 people on their list who change their name no less then a million times a day. There are also those people who use “profound” quotes as their names. These quotes never make me stop and contemplate life. Then there are those people who change their names to every event, party and social function they are attending. They want everyone to know how fun and popular they are, reminding you that if you want to spend a minute with them you better message them asap, before they find something better to do.

These names that replace our own are like a well-planned outfit; something we put on in hopes that people understand the image we are trying to portray.

The second problem is time. A conversation over the computer yields a certain pause between messages. This allows someone messaging his or her crush to carefully plot out an answer to a question that he or she might pose. It’s not a reactionary answer; rather an effort to answer in the way that they might think is most favourable to the other person. At the same time they can confer with a friend over the phone, or better yet over MSN, what their answer should be.

The third problem is lack of emotion. Now I know some of you are saying “What about emoticons?” If you believe that human beings are capable of only 20 emotions, one of which is a yellow head with sunglasses, you have become a slave to MSN and cannot be saved. Messages, with no intonation or tone, lose all meaning.

The fourth, and biggest, problem is the absence of physical interaction. Thousands of people sit alone in their rooms and type out a convoluted image and a fine-tuned conversation. This now passes for social interaction. I know many people who have had full-blown arguments with their significant others—and made up—all over MSN. When they see each other the next day they don’t talk about it, the fight has evaporated into cyber-space.

I know I might be taking this problem to an extreme, but the speed at which people have become dependent on these tools of technology is cause for concern. If it continues, one day we will never talk one-on-one with each another but rather construct ourselves into names on a list—limited to 20 emotions—and be all alone.

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