“Evolution” (?) of Communication

While sitting next to my friend she suddenly said, “communication is awful!” To be honest, I have to agree. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Myspace, dating sites, chat rooms, texting, etc. Methods of communication have drastically changed over the last decade or so. Some may argue that the change was for the better, since we can now easily and quickly communicate with people outside of our area code. However, I beg to differ. Yes, we have more amazing ways to talk and interact with others who are far away, as in if I am on the continent of Australia and you are sitting in your dorm room, we can have a perfectly good conversation on the phone or through video chat. But have you noticed that when people are sitting right next to each other, more often than not they are on their phones or their devices?

50 years ago, to ask someone out one would call their house multiple times or ask them in person at school. Nowadays, one is lucky if they receive a call, for the main methods of communication are through these little “personal” devices. Personal in the fact that they are intended for the use of a singular person, not in the sense that they make our lives and interactions more personal. We have become absorbed in the universe that is personal technology. For a good portion of our generation, it is important to check all these apps with short videos, and images that delete themselves after a few seconds, and status updates. Why are we so reliant on these apps and programs? I know that for some, it is a way of feeling connected to others. Some may also try to remain connected via technology. I respect and understand that. I also respect the fact that people do not have to verbally communicate to have healthy relationships, whether friends or more. People can just sit together, and if they want, they can use their personal devices. But when technological communication takes precedence to personal, face-to-face communication (or at least using our voices to communicate) I think that there is a problematic topic worth addressing. Yes, the technology of the world is advancing and aiding us in many ways. But as a result, has communication really ‘evolved’?

To read more about this topic, click here for a professional article on the Evolution of Communication.

Air It Out

Air guitar performances where once meant for “jamming” out by yourself, now it has the ability to gleefully capture and produce universal emotional and bodily responses from millions. The Air Guitar World Championship advertise it as being able to “promote world peace. According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar.” Although, many people view these competitions as silly, just plain stupid, embarrassing for both participants and spectators, and a waste of time. It can also be viewed as a ritual used to bond a group of people. The purpose of this large gathering is for the country of Finland to come together as one community. After all slogan for this competition is, “Wars would end, climate change would stop and all bad things would disappear if everyone just played the air guitar.” The Air Guitar Championships far surpass the juvenile facade one first sees when attending the event. It is truly about unity and setting aside all differences and just being a community.

Everyone can partake in the playing of air guitar, so it doesn’t exclude anyone in the population. As long they are confidence with themselves and their abilities. Performances can be exhilarating, bonding, embrace goofy theatricality, and encourages a community that celebrates each other’s performances.


Adversity and Community

It is clearly times when people are under the most duress that they show the greatest tendency to work together. I clearly remember periods of my childhood when an argument quickly turned into a united defense when a parent walked into the room. People find common ground in their shared struggle.

Homeless people in Buenos Aries, Argentina, are working together to build a better life for themselves. When no one would help them, and when they were thought to be the lowest of the low, they found a way to rely on each other to get the help that they needed, and to start creating changes.

Understanding how people make meaning and create community when those in power or the majority don’t allow them can give important anthropological insight into human culture. This kind of look at making meaning, communities, and communities of practice could be useful to apply to disabled or mentally challenged people, or those with diseases. Understanding how these people work together to create meaning even when they’re not allowed to or supposed to, is an important anthropological look at the world around us. How do people make meaning when they are told they can’t?

Reference: Self-Organization, Integration and Homeless People by Ana Inés Heras