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The new social norm for communication
(Photo courtesy: Quivas Family)

By Bertha Velasquez

Denise Olivas, 13, like most preteens her age, is an avid Facebook user. Asked how often she uses the social networking site, Olivas said about “24 [hours a day]” she joked.

“It’s more interesting ... than TV,” she said. Olivas confided that it’s a form of self expression, somewhere she can post her pictures, tell people what her favorite music is and have her roughly 352 “friends” see her drawings.

When asked if she prefers to use social media or to interact face to face, Olivas said she likes to use both.

Social media sites are not the only means teenagers, and adults for that matter, use to socialize outside of in person interpersonal communication. Cell phones are a predominant and readily available tool that allow people to connect with one another.

It used to be that “gaudy” was a term attributed to cell phones. Think Zack Morris from “Saved By The Bell.” Today, customers can compare not only the slickest models to fit their lifestyle, but best network plan to meet their needs. There is an estimated more than 300 million cell phones in use in the U.S.

Mobile phones now offer the newest technology that allow users to interact with one another from all across the world — or right across the dinner table.

Olivas said she consistently texts about 12-15 friends. She got her first phone when she was 11 and said there are a lot of people in her age group who have a one, too. When asked how often she uses her phone she giggled, “too much.”

Olivas has two younger siblings, one of whom will attend her same school later this year and who will receive her first cell phone. For Olivas, using a cell phone is also a matter of necessity. Knowing when her sister, Briana, will be taking the bus, for example.

As much as technology has advanced and the ability to connect with new and old acquaintances also come questions of, “What are we losing in the process?” Whether it is the ability to hold a one-on-one conversation or basic writing and spelling skills.

The all too common images of a teenager sitting on the couch texting her friends or the committed employee getting the final details finished on his report through email via his phone’s Internet access come to mind.

The way people now connect using their computer to log onto their favorite social media site or the ritualistic use of a cell phone has become all too banal. Turn on your television and you might just catch a Toyota Venza commercial. In one spot a late 20-something woman talks directly into the camera about how her parents lack a social life. Meanwhile, her parents are taking advantage of all their vehicle has to offer and mountain bike with their friends. The daughter however, is at home, sitting at the dinner table and enjoying recent posts by her “friend” on a social networking site.

What’s left to say to your beau, kin or friends when it’s already been texted, emailed or posted?





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