Undoubtedly, communication is a vital part of the culture of any society, and today it is more topical phenomenon than ever. The increased popularity and availability of technology and media in everyday life makes it easier and less complicated to people who are already overloaded by daily chores. Moreover, such tendency of the rapid development of technologies and media may cause a serious risk to society, particularly to young people. Contemporary teenagers use achievements of technological progress more frequently than their parents, but in few years they will tend to bring their habits into an adult life. Thereby, it is of the first priority to explore the human view of technology and media today, their use in everyday life and socialization impact, and the way in which cell phones and the Internet may affect man's identity. The paper will focus on examining an importance of the impact of technology and media on human relationships and interactions.
People percept emerging technologies and media in two general ways – either as a threatening tool or as a lifesaving innovation. Nevertheless, the fearsome nature of something new predominates in human view of technologies and media. Most people have prejudice about emerging technologies because they mind of their potential harm to community, family, and especially children. For example, human fearful attitude to radio in 1920s, as well as identical anxious feelings towards television in 1950s tend to show that new technologies have always worried general masses (Duck & McMahan 202). Therefore, stereotypical human viewing of something modern and innovative as a threatening thing can be observed throughout the times of the world existence. From my personal experience, I can note that, my grandparents in certain time were biased to the appearance of television. While being spiritual man, the grandfather was convinced that TV set was a kind of tricks of evil forces. Nowadays, it is hardly to imagine that somebody has had fears towards television because it has become an ordinary thing of every house or flat.
At the same time, it is rather a human viewing of the potentially harmful impact of progressive technologies and media can be a reason of such prejudiced and fearful perception of them. Duck & McMahan single out three primary human views connected with the influence of technology – social construction of technology, technological determinism and social shaping of technology (221). Additionally, each of the counted above views are associated with man's determination of social structure and cultural values. Thus, technological determinism provides rather technologies than people with the role of the determiner of social structure and cultural values because human beings are powerless before the force of media. In contrast to technological determinism, social construction of technology views a man as a source of impact on the technological development, as well as social structure and cultural value. In addition, social shaping of technology does not consider solely a human or technology as the only determiner; it considers that both of them influence society and culture. For my part, one time I have viewed technologies from a standpoint of technological determinism. Coughing for a long time, I became interested in a drug that was constantly advertised on TV, and as a result, I went to pharmacy and bought it. I cannot state that it has differed from other medication against cough but I have become forceless before the impact of advertisement.
Although people face technology and media in the contemporary life, the use of them is not accidental – it has a particular relational reason. Modern digital and electronic technologies can be regarded as the basis for interaction. Thus, people may be in different parts of the globe, but they still can interact and connect with each other through contemporary experience of technologies and media. Even during watching television, people are involved in some kind of interaction, Proulx & Shepatin in the book Communication in Everyday Life stated that "this sense of connection is being enhanced through the growing number of people making comments and chatting with others online while watching a television program" (Duck & McMahan 222). Thereby, most people are in need to accomplish their relational needs, and emerging technologies provide them with such opportunity. Moreover, the use of technologies and media may both have positive and negative impact on human relation connections. For example, Baron & Campbell in the book Communication in Everyday Life stated that people may pretend to use their cell phones because of unwillingness to interact with others (Duck & McMahan 223). In the same time Padilla-Walker, Coyne and Fraser in the same book claim that cell phones and television are found to be one of the most frequent activities shared by families (Duck & McMahan 223). Therefore, technologies and media may either help people to interact with each other or to avoid establishing of relation.
Additionally, the actual use of technology and media partially supports the creation of the relational and social satisfaction of it. Thereby, people sometimes tend to use technologies and media instead of communication with other people. Undoubtedly, media influences human representation of relationships because it depicts them as they should like, and not always in a realistic way. Thus, the audience may become a victim of media that does not fully demonstrate such phenomena of normal life as religion, race, social position, and sexual orientation, but still force people to compare fictional world of media with the real one. Moreover, the socialization impact of media connected with media representations of models of behavior compels viewers to create unrealistic expectations about relationship conduction in the real world (Duck & McMahan 224). It should be also noted that, technology and media may be an alternative of feelings and needs received from the real interaction with people. Therefore, the users of technologies and media can be equally satisfied with the gained information from media and from those with whom they have real relationship. People may also treat media in the same way as they have used to do with other humans.
Furthermore, cell phones and the Internet may not merely support people's interactions and provide them with information but also influence human identity. Katz, Suki in the book Communication in Everyday Life stated that although people consider cell phones as devices to contact with others, they start using them more and more frequently as a mean of social status and membership demonstration (Duck & McMahan 230). Thus, using technologies in such manner promotes developing of specific identity. Additionally, cell phones mirror people’s lifestyles, age, and dependence to particular group. Even ringtone is not simply a notification of a call, it as stated Pfleging, Alt, & Schmidt “can be viewed as a method of identity construction” (Duck & McMahan 231). This means that the selection of ringtone is pretty important for the person because it states in what way he/she desires to be recognized by others. As for the Internet, social and relational benefits promoted by social networking can be observed as an important component of the construction of identities. For instance, the number of friends on a social networking site, as well as their appearance may display certain information about the person, and how he or she is perceived by other people. Photographs on the social networking site is one more element of the construction of identities. According to Pempek, Yermolayeva & Calvert, photographs help users to demonstrate themselves to other people (Duck & McMahan 235). In any case the Internet is a vital tool in the construction of identities.
In addition to this, the textbook Communication in Everyday Life by Steve Duck & David T. McMahan is a pretty convincing source that examines fundamental concepts and theories of communication. The textbook assists readers to apply the gained material to their own lives that can be regarded as one of the strengths of Duck & McMahan's literary work. Moreover, Communication in Everyday Life forces the reader to critical thinking and exploring key concepts and terms of communication. The availability of chapter quizzes, visual examples, and data from certain studies and researches makes the textbook really interesting and strong. Authors' comments, humor and sharp ironical remarks dilute the serious tone of the book. However, the textbook is overloaded by numerous concepts, ideas, and theories connected with communication that can be considered its main weakness. Due to big amount of different communication theories and researches, it is difficult to distinguish between important and minor information, and thus to be focused on the principal material. Nevertheless, Communication in Everyday Life is a good literary source for understanding principals, ideas, strategies and theories of communication.
To conclude, communication is one of the genuine needs of every person. Nowadays, emerging technologies and media can be regarded as the main sources for people to communicate and interact with each other. Thereby, technologies and media may influence people in different ways. Human perception of emerging technologies and media represents his/her fears, prejudices, stereotyping or lifesaving expectations. In addition to this, either technology or people, or both may determine social structure and cultural values. Moreover, the use of technology and media in everyday life is the basis for human interaction. Technologies and media have also the socialization impact on people – one may carry models of behavior from television programs or films into real life, and thus establish unrealistic expectations of relationships. Additionally, cell phones as well as the Internet participate in the construction of identities, and influence human perception of both themselves and others.