Relationships start with a crash moment in a party and then what’s next? Nowadays the next step would be exchanging phone number and chatting over the phone. Then a lot of emotional expressions and photos about relationship will be uploaded to SSN. When the relationship ends, you probably choose to end it over the phone because say it out in face-to-face setting is too embarrassing. Then you will feel annoyed that you have to go back to SSN and clean up all digital traces of the relationship.
It seems annoying but as a digital native, it is hard to imagine a world with out all those communication tools. I was always wondering how did people maintain intimate relationship before cellphone and social media tools coming out. It seems impossible for me but makes strong sense to generations at my parents’ age.
According to the self-disclosure theory of communication, building intimacy requires communication that one people reveals information about himself or herself to others. Appropriate and reciprocal self-disclosure is necessary in building intimate relationships. With the invasion of technology and social media, all five aspects of self-disclosure, expression, self clarification, relationship development, social validation and social control, are being changed. This phenomenon reminds of many of friends who love posting fanciful photos on SSN. They have a lot of fans and likes on SSN. Every photo posted on SSN needs to be finely photoshoped. But if you personally know him or her, they were just ordinary students like everyone else.
The development of technology has brought more channels for people to communicate. Communication is no longer hindered by distance nor the embarrassment of talking directly. Marshall McLuhan has already provided a famous and powerful conclusion about this: “we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”.