First off, this is an article of opinion. I once did a research paper on the topic; but, this article provides no research other than my own observations.
There are an abundant amount of ways people can communicate with each other. Wether it be the traditional phone call, text, social network, email,blogs, traditional mail or speaking in person. However, with all of these resources available, people seem to feel more isolated than say twenty years ago. We are a social species, perhaps with a few exceptions; but, the quality of the social experience seems to have deteriorated. Meaning, people aren’t receiving the beneficial effects of social interaction as they once did.
Social networks, perhaps with the best of intentions of uniting people, seem to have had the reverse affect. Rather than meeting at a pub or restaurant to meet with friends or family; users merely log on and check the status of their “friends.” In fact, many many social network users probably have never met half of the people on their friends list. Albeit, I am as guilty as the next of belonging to several social networks, blogs and the like. So, as I mentioned earlier, my insight to this topic is from mere observation and experience.
I recall ten years ago or so, I had a group of friends that I would hear from and interact with on a regular basis. Now, the amount of people I would consider friends (ones I speak to on a regular basis or interact with) has diminished. Perhaps, some of this can be contributed to merely getting older; and changes in life in general. However, the need to post my life on a website back then was never a concern or priority. People called more and desired to get together back then.
And from what I’ve seen as a trend on social network sites, is largely an attempt to get attention. Like a subconscious effort longing for that social interaction that seems to be increasingly waning.
To add some weight to my claims, my sister, who has a masters degree in family psychology, has stated that people are feeling more isolated in this era of technology than in previous generations.
In a conversation with a friend a while ago, a month or so before my ten year high school reunion, I told him I didn’t desire to go. He stated that a lot of people he knew also felt the same way about not feeling the need to attend high school reunions. One reason he gave was that, there is no need to actually see old classmates in person to talk about what they have been doing since graduation. People merely look on sites such as Facebook, where everyone posts their activities on a somewhat regular basis.
Personally, I have been reducing the number of people on my Facebook friends list. There are a few reasons for this. Such reasons include: I haven’t met a lot of these people and have no interest in what they are doing. As well I do not have the desire to be informed of what people that I do know have going on in their life, since a lot of those people I was never close to. And, mostly a great number of people simply post about how bad or great their life is. The news feed on the site began to come off as “whiny,” and “woe is me.” Or, “my life is so much better than yours, and here is why…” Not only that, it reads like a self written gossip publication, much like one would see on news stands about celebrities.
There are some saving graces to social networking, such as being able to create events and invite people through the network. Plus, promoting any cause or venture one may be involved in; such as business, humanitarian, political, religious, band promotion and the like.
Perhaps, one of the more queries aspects of social networking, is how much information people divulge to the public. There are so many out there that complain about “big brother” spying on their privacy, that it never occurs to them, that they are providing a lot more information than what a corporation or government would have to look for.
Social networking is here to stay, in one form or another. And, ultimately it is up to the individual to find out how to utilize any technology to enhance their quality of life.