Dave Schwartz Argues That Technology Is Expanding Our Vocabulary, Not Changing How We Communicate

Dave Schwartz of argodesign wrote for Medium to discuss the evolution of communication with technology.

Schwartz noted that digital platforms have broadened how we communicate with each other and the tools we use to do so. From emojis to GIFS to augmented-selfie videos, the 26 letters of the alphabet are no longer enough.

Technology is a tool that allows us greater options of the media we choose to send, while at the same time, a looser expression of what we are sending. Schwartz quoted literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye, who described this as a function of metonymy, which is defined as the substitution of the name of an attribute for the thing that is meant. Through memes, GIFS, and Bitmojis, these digital hieroglyphs amplify our capacity for abstraction and bridge communication between parties. Meanwhile, actual words are left behind as an imperfect form of communication.

Schwartz concludes that the articulation of the personal experience is so much easier and more accessible with a device. The creative expresser can be anyone with a phone and not just a wordsmith, artist, or musician. Overall, the smartphone has changed the ways we can communicate; it has helped many find their voice and communicate exactly what they cannot put into words.

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