Smartphones have often been criticized for damaging social skills and reducing the opportunity to experience positive communication between individuals. However, it would be foolish to affirm that smartphones, a tool of communication, are stopping people from bonding and connecting. In reality, they are at the heart of redefining new communication skills and strategies. They haven’t stopped people from interacting with each other. Smartphones have simply brought the communication behavior at a different level.
The ability to bond with others
Video games have often been perceived as an anti-social tool that drives players away from their social circle. In reality, for a lot of young and isolated individuals, games, and especially MMO games – Massively Multiplayer Online games which can support hundreds to thousands of players on the same server – can provide a new window of socializing opportunities. Indeed, for everybody who is shy and feels anxious about meeting new people, gaming is a good way to meet others and interact socially, even if it only behind a screen. Indeed, it is easier to join Final Fantasy 15 than to take part in a social gathering if you’re shy. Additionally, being able to share a social space without fear of face-to-face confrontations can let gamers explore their environment and use the MMO games in unique ways.
Belonging to a community
Social media networks have helped to create a new sense of community, which goes beyond the geographical boundaries. For instance, more and more individuals are turning to popular social media, such as Instagram, to share their story with others. Using visual engagement only with photos or videos, Instagram has the ability to create an intimist experience of someone’s perception of the world. Every like marks social approval, making the social media user part of a global community who understands and appreciates him or her.
Creating a new language
When English, Spanish and Chinese were competing for the rank of the first language in the world, digital communication, in chats and on smartphones, created the new Esperanto. Esperanto was designed to be a universal language that everybody could understand. Unfortunately, the fact that you needed to learn it defeated its global purpose. However, emojis are visually clear and are used by over 90% of social networking users. From a smiley to a cat’s face, you can say all you want using only images. Besides they add clarity to written messages too by expressing emotions that are difficult to translate into words.
Defining your communication boundaries
Additionally, mobile phones have also brought something new to the sphere of communication, namely the right not to answer. With a smartphone, you can be reached at any time of the day or night. Consequently, some people have developed coping mechanisms to stop the communication, from stacking their phones on the table when they’re out for dinner, to finding boundaries in picking your online contacts. Being online at all times doesn’t mean that you are available. It’s an opportunity to communicate IF you need to, not an obligation.
Since the invention of the smartphone, Blondie’s famous “Call Me” song needs to be rewritten. Call me, text me, emoji me anytime. I’ll never get enough; when socializing comes, I know I’m part of a global community. 🙂