Our world has never been more connected than it is today. Our generation is blessed with the ability to instantly contact anyone, retrieve information, or share an experience with the world. With this power has come immense progress in terms of healthcare, productivity, and professional networking (to name a few). What it has taken away, however, might be far more valuable. In my opinion, Millennials are losing the art of conversation. While our online personalities have never been more groomed, our inter-personal skills are at an all time low. Too often is a great moment spoiled by someone trying to take a picture or send a tweet. Rather than rely on our phones to define our lives, I think that improving the way we relate to one another in person can solve many of the large issues we face today.
For my white paper, I am looking at the effects of technology on our generation. It is a personal interest of mine because of how strongly I believe that these devices are affecting our generation. Too often we focus on what technology can do for us, while we ignore what it does to us. If we step back and look at the problems with our world today, three that come immediately to mind are race, sexuality, and gender equality. I would argue that if we spent less time judging those from different backgrounds based on images, videos, and articles and began to engage them face to face, our perceptions of diversity would change immensely.
At dinner one evening last semester, my friends and I looked around to see at least one person at every table with a glowing face from the backlight of their cell phone. Sometimes, we saw multiple people and even one table who had no one looking up at all. Disappointed, we agreed to place all our phones face down in a stack in the middle of the table. If someone reached for their phone at any point, they had to buy an entire round of drinks for the table. While initially it was strange, we ultimately discovered that our experience was much more enjoyable and the conversation was far more engaging. Some of us, myself included, even felt refreshed by the freedom we felt without our devices. I believe that this small behavior could change the way we relate to one another and, if done by everyone, might just save our conversation skills before its too late.