The Internet has brought the world together yet is creating a wider gap of social interaction like never before. That’s right, social networking is making us less social in the sense of personable interactions. With the growing number of networks and way to stay ‘connected’ what is getting lost is the true purpose on communication with others.
The world is shifting to 140 character status updates. Quick insights at a moment in time about an individual, a quick picture, maybe a short video. That is not communication. The social network phenom is creating a self satisfying way to calm our minds of curiosity on what others are doing, if they are still alive, where they live in short, meaningless and emotionless statuses. People no longer write long letters or even emails to each other painting pictures of their lives and experiences, expressing emotions, letting their unique personalities come out in the correspondences. All the healthy benefits we get from interacting with others. We may be able to connects hundreds if not thousands of people we come in contact with but does all this technology and communication lines make our communications more meaningful? Seeing a post from a childhood friend “I am fine today, work is going good. Off to the park later”, does that satisfy your need to alleviate some guilt for your friendship falling to the wayside? It does not.
NPR recently had a story about how High School Reunion attendance is dropping and tying it to social networking. There is a false sense of connection that creates an impression that you are already connected to old classmates so what is the point of going in person. But there is an aspect that is missed when you are back in front of people, that real tangible connection of hearing the speak as a real conversation is conducted over a status update reply.
Social networks is a great thing on building the network of reconnecting and staying in contact with people in our lives. However, the communication and interaction aspect of what humans need is dwindling. All the gadgets, smart phones, websites, and apps that hook us into these networks is actually making people more and more isolated.
Perhaps it comes down something more simple is that humans are not meant to have hundreds of personal connections at the level of detail social networks provide. It’s easier to throw out updates and benign status updates from the security of sitting behind a computer monitor. By doing so satisfies us that we are ‘communicating’ with others. As you go through your updates with your connections, how much time do you read into a status, think about the individual and wonder what else is going on with them, ever think about actually calling them or inviting them to a person to person dinner and drinks to truly catch up? If not, then are those updates anything more than check ins with the world that you are still around?
Maybe it’s bringing out a more natural characteristic of human nature that we can only operate at a personal level with a low number of individuals. Do people really care about the health, welfare and what’s going on with the other 350 people you may have a connection with? I’ll let the psychologists and anthropologists try to figure that one out. Either way, the expanse of connectivity is actually not improving communications but maybe beginning to destroy the interacting aspect it.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.