Social media is something that touches everyone in this day and age. It is nearly impossible to avoid it, and with nearly everyone on one social media platform or another, it makes one wonder: does social media improve people’s communication skills or does it impede the growth of those skills? Admittingly, Andrew Napolitano thinks social media does allow a level of comfort to a conversation, since it is not as revealing as a video call or as focus-demanding as a phone call – and social media certainly doesn’t demand the vulnerability involved in speaking to someone’s face. While it does add comfort and distance, there are varying viewpoints on whether social media strengthens communication skills or hurts them.
The Comfort of a Screen
Many people do feel more comfortable with communicating through a screen, and there are those who believe that communicating through social media helps people build confidence in who they are and in their own personal conversation skills. However, that confidence doesn’t always translate into real life situations. Confidence to speak one’s mind on social media doesn’t mean that that same person is able to speak eloquently and concisely when talking to someone at a local coffee shop or in a job interview. Once the comfort of a screen is gone, it can be a whole new world communicating in person – and when that is the case, social media does not improve the communication skills of the individual.
The Hindrance of a Screen
One of the downsides of using social media on such a regular basis is that some people try to use it as a substitute for in person conversation and communication. Another issue is that a person can get so used to having a screen between them and the person they are communicating with that when they are forced to use their face-to-face conversation skills, they can fall flat due to disuse. There never has been and never will be a true replacement for face-to-face interaction with others, so having those in-person skills is still an invaluable thing even in the technological world we live in. Andrew Napolitano believes that if a person cannot take those skills that he or she has learned through communicating through social media and use the skills in face-to-face interactions, those skills do not have much value when it comes to speaking to someone in person.
Preserving Communication Skills In a Digital World
Social media can be a highly beneficial tool, both for business and for personal engagement with friends and family. However, individuals would do well to safeguard their face-to-face communication skills and make sure that they don’t neglect those physically around them. Andrew Napolitano believes that a reliance on social media can cause face-to-face communication skills to dwindle and the repercussions can be truly damaging, both to the individual and to those in their lives. Social interaction is a hallmark trait of being human, and as convenient as social media communicating is, it cannot take the place of good, clear face-to-face conversation.