From Phone Calls to Slidin’ into the DM’s: The change in interpersonal relationships due to the effects of social media, technology and time.

By Catalina Benavides

With the advent of social media and all the advances in technology, meeting new people is now easier and quicker. And although we have tools at our disposal- like cellphones and every social media account ever- meeting people has become less personal and more stressful. Why? Because we have chosen to replace conversations we would have in person for conversations over texts and social media. We are now able to market ourselves to this virtual environment.We have even taken steps to marketing ourselves to someone- who we may not know at all or maybe very little-  all behind a screen with the information we carefully chose to post online. And as a result of this new medium of communication, interpersonal communication has been altered throughout the years.

  1. So what exactly is Interpersonal Communication ?

According to, interpersonal communication is a process in which there is an exchange of information between people. The exchange could include feelings, signals, and meanings using both non-verbal and verbal messages. Interpersonal communication takes place in person and not through any other means– such as the internet.

Interpersonal communication takes into account the manner in which messages are sent out such as language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.

2. Now that we understand what Interpersonal Communication is, we have to understand what components make up this process.

There are six components to interpersonal communication: the communicators, the messages, noise, feedback, context and channel.

The communicators may engage in a one-way or two-way process for communicating their messages. The one-way process involves a message sender and a message receiver like when one person is speaking, while the other is listening. A two way process is when both the sender and receiver of messages are both exchanging information. The receiver in the conversation is listening but also sending a non-verbal cue. Non verbal cues can also add more information to the message that is spoken to the receiver. These cues can include facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.

Aside from these components, other components of interpersonal communication include noise, feedback, and context. All of these components are affected by the environment around the messenger and the receiver.In text messages and social media exchanges, physical influences are missing completely; this missing influences in our communication can contribute to the loss of intent of our original messages that have now lost a bit of personal touch ot them.

3. So what’s the deal with interpersonal communication today versus “back in the day”? Has it deteriorated, in a sense, due to social media and the internet?

Most of us have heard adults– like I have definitely heard from my parents– talk about how they communicated “back in the day” with each other. From sending each other letters to cassette tapes with their favorite songs and more importantly secretly spending hours on the phone with one another detailing every aspect of their day. Intercommunication was stronger back then when, if you actually wanted to share information with someone, you would have to either physically have a conversation with them or call them over the phone.

4. To contrast with back then let’s look at what’s new now.

However, with the advent of technology and social media, those once interpersonal communications are being replaced with texts and emails. This new means of talking has us relying more on methods of communication that are impersonal and less intimate. Using social media– as heavily as we do now– has us portray an edited version of our lives that is not as honest as it should with the world. We are able to control and calculate our responses in our conversations over text and social media, while in person we respond in the moment and more genuinely. The aspects of body language and facial expressions are lost as a part of interpersonal communication when replaced with conversations that–for the most part– are behind some sort of a screen.

5. My Stance

Interpersonal communication plays a huge role when making new friends or new significant others. As some rather meet people online, I personally would prefer to meet someone and get to know them in person- like “back in the day.” I feel like it’s a more honest way to fall for someone. The factors of interpersonal communication are successful when they are executed in person. I believe the ability to hide behind a screen has desensitized us to losing people we once cared about– the ones we met and relied on talking through a phone so heavily– because losing a person is as simple as it is for us to lock our phones and carry on with our day. If we had developed a stronger in-person and interpersonal communication ability, it would not be as easy to separate ourselves from them. It would hurt us more to lose them. It has also become easier to move on because we know that we have greater access to more people by just logging online. Some of us are becoming less sensitive to losing people. We lose one and find another online because that is just the way it is nowadays.

Social media and technology are a great tool to meet people on but they are not the only tool. Go out and socialize! And if you do meet a great person online, make sure you actually talk to them–like in person at one point. Meet them in person and go out for some ice cream and invest in your interpersonal relationship. I’m not saying to not use the internet and social media to talk to people, I’m saying let’s engage with people in-person as well as online, so we don’t lose interpersonal communication and all of its benefits to society!


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Women to Read

March 8, 2019