Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is Social Media Making us Unsocial?

That was a comment from a journal I have been reading from 2003, and personally I think it is a bit of a load. This may very much be only an opinion that I carry but I feel that as Facebook and Twitter have developed over the years users have become more sociable. Ten years ago if you were planning an event it was, when you think about it, a bit of a hack. You were forced to spend hours on the phone making arrangements, finding out costs, inviting friends you had not spoken to in "yonks" (just because it was so bloody difficult) and you would without a shadow of a doubt always forget that one poor bastard. The company you kept was very selective on what area you lived in, where you spent your days, sport you played and which watering hole you spent the most time at... Okay, maybe not SO selective but it was a limited number of people you were exposed to.

I have only been on Twitter actively for maybe five months and my social network has grown quite significantly in those five months. I may never meet some of the people who I interact with on Twitter, but we would not be interacting at all if we did not share common interests. Others I will, and some I have already met. These are people who I would not have met had it not been for Twitter.

Facebook has opened up the online community allowing us to follow and keep up with friends who we may not have seen for ten years. Friends we would otherwise have forgotten and yet we now find ourselves catching up, probably not regularly, but enough to know what they are getting up to. When you take a trip overseas you find yourself scouring your facebook connections to find out who now lives in that area.

I tend to agree that they can be somewhat unsociable at times, I mean, while you are sitting in a pub with a bunch of mates and you have Facebook running on your phone is, well, kind of pathetic. But I like to think that people have gotten over complete online communication and take an interest in communicating on a more direct level. That direct interaction I think is something we will never be able to do without.

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