Stock photo.

Technology has vastly changed the way people communicate in the world today. Understatement, yes, but gone are the days when we sit at home waiting for letters or phone calls on landlines. Now it is all about efficiency and convenience.

It used to be that to get a hold of someone, you had to call them, send a letter or go to their home. Now, a quick text or Facebook message is the norm when wanting to contact someone. I have to ask: are average forms of communication being lost or just built upon?

Don’t get me wrong, new technology is nice and makes life easier, but is it making us lose sight of the important things?

Instead of calling someone to sing them “Happy Birthday,” I can write something on their Facebook wall. Instead of breaking up with someone face-to-face, I can do it through a text message. Instead of researching something at the library, I can scour the Internet. Instead of doing a lot of things that take more effort, people hide behind technology in order to get them through difficult, or more time consuming, situations.

Technology has also altered many common courtesies, in addition to changing several traditions. I can’t tell you how many times I see people out with friends or family, or on a date, and instead of focusing on the people they are with, they are texting someone else. But, I am guilty of this, too. We all are. Just because everyone has come to accept it and conform, does that make it right?

We live in a world where it is always about the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to get something done. People want to keep on top of technology, in order to not get lost in this fast-paced society.

But keeping up on technology while out on dates is not the only place this new behavior has stretched. With the increasing availability of smartphones, laptops, iPads and the iPod Touch, using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter during class has become easier. Everything we need is right at our fingertips. What does this say about us? Are we heading to a society of disrespect where education is no longer valuable enough to put our phones down for two hours?

Has technology taken over that much — are we are consumed by it during all hours of the day?

I am by no means preaching that these technological advances are bad, because I would be a hypocrite since I use them, too. But what I have noticed is they have changed a lot of traditions that used to be valued in our society.

I understand these things are not extremely threatening now, but what about in the future? Are we going to come to a point where professors are not needed for lecture and interactions with people are strictly done via text, Facebook, video chat or on other sorts of media?

The world is constantly changing all around us. We all want to be better, faster and more equipped. The question is, how much are we willing to change about our traditions and values in order to keep up with technology?

Do we continue to grow and advance, and forget about the traditional phone call, or face-to-face break-up? Is it acceptable to continue stalking someone on Facebook without having talked to them for months? Where do we draw the line?

Technology is a great tool, but it is important that we don’t lose track of too much of the past while continuing on into our future.

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