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Has technology ruined our ability to communicate?

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Rhetorical Analysis
“Has technology ruined our ability to communicate?” by Natalie Bencivenga appears in the premier American news website The Huffington Post. In this article, Natalie aims to convince that social media and the new technology such as smartphones have worsened our communication skills. We live in a new era, an era in which people communicate with text-messages, Facebook, Skype and tons of other social networks that connect people. Back in the days, there was only the phone, letters and obviously face to face as a means of communication. Now, people can have a virtual face to face interaction across the globe in seconds. Because of these new innovations, some people believe that they have ruined how we interact rather than improving it. Natalie is one of them. Although, she makes valid points about the issue, she doesn’t successfully persuade the reader that technology and social network has ruined our ability to communicate. The Huffington post is mostly based as a news blog. Although, it is relatively new (founded in 2005), it has become as one of the most prominent online newspapers in the United States. According to the statistics, the newspaper has a really good range of audience.

It is popular among people between 25 and 64 years .This supports the fact that the newspaper has a big reputation. However, one interesting fact about the demographics of the audience is the majority of it has no kids. Natalie Bencivenga is one of the main authors in the Healthy Living section of the newspaper. Her articles feature advices on improving people’s lifestyles. The purpose of her article is to address the people who have already “gotten” into communication through social networks and technology to take a look how that has changed their ability to interact. She uses an example of a conversation between two people aged between 25 and 30 years. This implies that her target audience consists of people from the same age. Furthermore, these people often depend on the new technologies and innovations to communicate. Natalie Bencivenga begins her article by giving an example of a typical text message conversation between two potential lovers. She harshly criticizes how the conversation goes and how this reflects the way people communicate nowadays. For example she uses words like “Yuck” and also uses sarcastic sentences such as “If this is the state of communicating with a potential lover in the modern world, thanks, but I’ll pass”. Moreover, she uses rhetorical questions to state her point. This technique immediately establishes the article as informal and personal. By using this technique, she establishes a personal connection with reader which helps to convince her audience.

She definitely captures the reader’s attention with her angry tone. However, using an angry tone is not one of the best ways to support an opinion. Some readers may find it bad and therefore disagree with her statement. She is trying to prove her opinion to people who often use smartphones and social media. After capturing the reader’s attention, she explains in the next paragraphs how texting and online messaging makes us even more detached and isolated than ever before. Her arguments for that is that there is a lack of emotion when texting or chatting which worsens the quality of the conversation,” Does this lack of intimacy and connection make us colder, more detached to one another?” Another point Natalie makes is that people can’t live without their cell phones. She supports this by recapping an experiment she conducted by leaving her smartphone at her apartment for one night. She wanted to see how she could spend one day without using any technology. The result of the experiment made her realize how dependent she was on her smartphone. During the experiment, she was worried that she was missing important updates which she didn’t and also someone was trying to contact her but couldn’t.

The experiment shows us how technology has dramatically changed our lifestyle and she does a good job using this experiment to support her opinion. Although, Natalie makes good points how technology and social media destroys communication, she doesn’t fully convince the reader. One big reason is that she doesn’t analyze the advantages of today’s innovations. She doesn’t compare the pros and cons, and that is why her article doesn’t fully support her opinion. Not everybody from her audience at shares the same opinion as her. That is why it would be better to weight the advantages and disadvantages to come to a conclusion. This would make her article more convincing. Furthermore, she doesn’t use research data or information to support her view. The article is solely based on her opinion and on an “experiment” she conducts. However, that is not enough to support her opinion. Using research information gives proven facts and the author can analyze them to make his or her article stronger. In conclusion, despite Natalie Bencivenga is very familiar with the topic, she unsuccessfully persuades the audience that technology and social networks have ruined our ability to communicate. Although she makes valid points, the lack of research information and also discussing the advantages, she doesn’t fully convince her audience.

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