In the article “Touch someone,” the idea that sometimes sociability has to be taught and sold is a fact with which many technology-based companies have struggled. For example, when the Internet was first released, it was not perceived as a means of social interaction at all. The original users of the Internet were primarily businesses or educators. The Internet was seen largely as a place for information. It took from the 1950s, when the Internet was first developed, until 1993 for someone to develop email as a quick and easy way for one to communicate with others online; however, even today, email is still thought of as a more formal and professional way of communicating. It was not until social media fully gained traction that the Internet finally started to turn its focus towards every day social interaction.
The Internet took so long to become recognized as a viable option for social communication for many of the same reasons the telephone originally struggled to be seen as a means of social interactions. Part of the struggle was that neither the Internet nor the telephone was originally envisioned for social use. In fact, the Internet was first used in the Department of Defense and Alexander Graham Bell originally envisioned the telephone as a way of communicating for urgent matters. Even once companies tried to push both of these technologies towards social functions, the public was resistant because they felt they either did not need this new technology or did not fully understand it.
It took a generation who was exposed to the technology and understood it before either the Internet or the telephone was used at a fully social capacity. For example, when Facebook was originally started its entire market was college students. This is because college students are accustomed to computers and more open to the possibility of using them for social means. Social media sites are still primarily used by the younger generation. This indicates that someone is more likely to use a new technology at a social level if they understand and are comfortable with the technology. In this way, I think the two technologies are different. When the phone was invented, the idea of using technology as a means of social interaction seemed bizarre. People liked the idea of seeing the other person face to face. By the time the Internet came out the phone had already broken many of these barriers. This paved the way for the Internet to transition towards social uses faster.
The shift in the function of both the Internet and the phone from practical uses to social uses was driven by a desire for profit and humans innate desire to interact. Companies quickly realized they could easily expand their market by marketing their technology for social uses. Not everyone needs a telephone or the Internet for business, but almost everyone likes to socialize. In the present day, we consume much of our day talking to people, checking social media, calling, and texting people. This is because humans are social creatures. We feel happier when we belong to a group and when we interact with others. As long as we live, companies will seek to use technologies to satisfy our innate desire to communicate and exploit it for personal profit.