Two tools that were inexistent decades ago were social media sites and dating sites. There are many social sciences dissertations studying the impact of these two relatively new phenomena in personal relationships. When we talk about romantic relationships, some observations can be made:
1) Conflicts can be created between couples, for example: friending exes, complimenting the picture of someone of the opposite sex, talking through private messages and venting about your partner can all bring problems.
2) Dating sites have reduced romance to selecting the ripest and most colorful fruit in the street market, only to throw it aside when you find another fruit you like better. Changing partners has become extremely easy at the click of a button. Problems with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Get your profile up. Problems in your marriage? Find someone new quickly online.
3) Why take the time to get to know and court someone you like when you can be going out with many men or women at the same time?
4) If you need sex, you can easily find someone who will sleep with you on the first date, or you can go to a casual encounters website.
5) You choose people based on certain criteria (height, education, looks, etc.) and may overlook people who you could really have a loving relationship with.
6) Because of the sheer number of people who you are in contact with, you treat them not as people with feelings but as numbers. Basic respect is lost.
7) Instant chemistry is expected on a first date, and when that doesn’t happen, one goes on a new date instead of letting the cycle of falling in love happen naturally. Think of the relationships you had in the past: how many were really love at first sight?
8) Facebook and other social media sites produce expectation on each side of the couple. One expects the other to showcase their love and to change their status. When that doesn’t happen, frustration ensues.
9) Seeing your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend on a dating site right after a break up is very devastating.
10) You no longer hold on to your relationship and try to make it work, because there is a world of potential dates out there. That can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances.
Remember that with the advent of the internet many people thought the digital world would make people isolated? That people would hide behind a computer desk and a nickname and never see anyone?
There are probably people who still hide behind a computer desk, but the techonology we have now has actually brought people closer. Social networking sites like Facebook has kept us in touch with old friends and schoolmates who we would otherwise not be talking to anymore. We can also folllow details of friends’ and relatives’ lives. Email has allowed us to communicate faster and more frequently with everyone we know, and the latest technology has allowed computers and phones with front cameras to show us who we are talking to. That definitely can bring people even closer.
In the past centuries, immigrants would take a ship and go to a faraway land. Most of these immigrants never went back home; never saw or talked to family members again. Letters would take weeks or months to arrive. Communication technology has made distance from loved ones so much easier to put up with.
Video-conferencing is a great tool for those with family in other cities and countries. The use of video conferencing for business has been well explored, but even though we’ve had the technology for over 15 years, the quality wasn’t good enough to make people really use it. The image was often grainy and would freeze continuously. With better bandwith and Skype, Adobe Connect, the iPhone4 (FaceTime) and other Android phones we have now at our disposal a much better video and audio definition.
The latest novelty for communicating with others is the Cisco umi: http://tiny.cc/wmeig. Cisco has a device that linked to a HDTV produces a high quality video of someone who is far away. Grandparents can use video-conferencing to see their grandchildren often, long distance lovers can see each other (although that will never substitute for touch…) and families that live apart can share holidays “together”.
Who doesn’t like technology when it brings comfort and happiness?
Languages are living entities. They change and adapt according to the times. Words that are not being used regularly fade away and eventually disappear. Sometimes entire languages disappear due to population migration, political and geographical factors and war, where some populations in the history of the world were entirely dizimated.
When people migrated to foreign lands or when one culture invaded another, new words were introduced and merged into the existing language. Brazil is a great example of a country that was colonized by the Portuguese, which adapted native Brazilian and African words into their language. Therefore, just like American English and British English have their differences, so does the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil.
With industrialization and mechanization, technology created new equipment and machinery that had to acquire new names. The invention of the car, autobus, train, transistor radio, television and cinema were all new words in the last 150 years. New words were also created to explain the advances in medicine.
But nothing compares to the speed that language has changed since the internet started playing a huge role in our lives in the last 25 years. Some already in use words like “downloading” , “thread”, “troll” ,”word processing”, “social media” took new meanings. Several new words have been introduced, from “internet” and “email” to the most recent “googling”, “twittering” or “tweet”, “iPhone”, “blog”, “GPS”, “smartphone”…the list goes on and on.
The result of this fast change is that we can expect an influx of new words to surge in the next few years. It is exciting to predict what will be the next fad word. Maybe in the next couple of years we will be saying “get your iPad” as frequently as the factory workers last century said “get your pad” . If someone from 1985 stepped on a time machine and was thrown in the year 2010, he or she would not understand 20% of what people are saying nowadays!
So yes, even though we did not get the future we all wanted a la Jetsons (flying cars to beat traffic jams and robot maids to clean our house), at least in the language level we are in the future.
I have never become addicted to Facebook or Orkut. I would check it once in a while but I felt that I had to read too much junk from too many people. People called “friends” who I hardly knew.
When I first heard about Twitter, I immediately thought: “one more social networking website trying to compete with MySpace”. One day, I was watching “The View” when I heard the women talk about Twitter. Their enthusiasm caught my attention and I decided to check it out. In a matter of a few months, Twitter became my number one source of news as well as the website I most spend time on. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I look at before I put my phone down at night, much to my husband’s displeasure 🙂
I now follow many people, most of them news outlets like CNN, where I get good information, the latest news and links to interesting articles right there and then.
The evening Michael Jackson was pronounced dead, I was at the gym. I was reading my tweets in one hand and checking the news on the gym TV-which was still saying Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital. Looking at my tweets, I read MJ was already dead. It took more than one whole minute for CNN to mention his death. I can only imagine how the 9/11 news would have spread if Twitter already existed in 2001. Accounts from witnesses in real time.
I suppose the number of people I follow will increase to the point I will miss many interesting tweets, since I cannot be on the site all day. After all, there is always someone new and exciting to follow.
It may be a fad, but so far Twitter has affected my Facebook account, which I rarely check now, and this blog-greatly ignored. Let’s see how long will Twitter reign-and how long we will enjoy receiving several short messages one after the other. After all, everything has a cycle. AOL, Yahoo, MySpace…people always want something new.
Update: my tweets are repeated on Facebook, so I am annoying my Facebook friends now 🙂
I am a bit of a internet addict/techie/trend lover, I confess. In the early 90’s I already was on the BBS before it became the World Wide Web! I had an email address that I don’t even remember than. So when I hear about something new, I want to check it out. I heard about Tweeter and was not too impressed initially. I thought to myself: what’s the attraction? Isn’t Facebook good enough? Who cares about short messages?
Being the trendie lover I decided to give it a try. Ok, so this is a mix between text messaging and social networking websites. I started sending some tweets, especially when I am waiting for something somewhere and trying to fall asleep while having my addiction, oops, my iPhone in my hands.
I realized that Twitter is like sending text messages to all your friends at the same time instead of only one. And I also realized that there is a responsibility with what you say, because you can get in trouble with impulsive messages sent in moments of anger, spite or cattiness.
The last thing I would do is add that to my cell. Who wants to get messages from several people all day long? Most of them silly like “I am going to take a shower”? Does Ashton Kutcher check messages from 1 Million people?
On the other hand, imagine the power it gives you to reach people. Ashton can get 1 M people listen to him extremely quickly. He can send vital information out asap. If I were the head the United States Homeland Security department, I would have Ashton working for me. For politicians, another invaluable tool. Get their message across.
It amazes me that the internet still has endless possibilities. When you think that everything has been thought of, there comes some new amazing tool. Twitter has achieved the maximum honor: to become a verb. People are “tweeting” like they are “googling”.
I was not watching much TV in the last decade. In Brazil, you know what shows are on that night, because there are less channels and people tend to watch the same things: the 8 o’ clock news on Globo TV, the 8:30 PM soap opera, the comedy show at 9:30 PM.
When you come to America and you get full cable, you suddenly have 200 + channels to choose from. And after a while, you realize that most of it is crap. And when you find a show you may like, you have trouble in finding which channel it is and what day it is on, since it is not daily like Brazilian evening soaps.
Between a busy life and not finding or remembering shows on TV, I just lost interest. I would watch something big (like The Oscars) or a movie here or there. That changed last year, when I got one of my favorite eletronics: the DVR. I finally could watch what I wanted when I wanted! I could finally select a few shows I had interest in and watch them at my convenience, usually after a long day of working, going to the gym and working out.
I now record my favorite shows like Real Time with Bill Maher, The View and also some guilty pleasures that drive my husband crazy: The Real Housewives of New York City 🙂
- Being a mother
- Being a woman
- Dating world
- Difference between cultures
- Social Media
- World Events/News