A caller expressed a concern that people are becoming more and more isolated--especially with the advent of so many fancy-schmancy digital devices that keep people connected so much. She feared that while human beings are social creatures, we're doing our best to unintentionally isolate ourselves more and more. That things like Facebook and other social media are pulling us out of even the real life settings in which we find ourselves.
The gentleman said that is a very common observation and that there have been some studies done on this very subject (I'm sorry that I can't give you more source material than "NPR" and "The Gentleman" but it's a very short drive to work). Obviously, the information is very new and constantly evolving but according to research, a person who is active in forms of social media--someone who is constantly connected to their iPhone and their Facebook account is actually more likely to approach a stranger in a social setting than most people were 10 years ago.
And I found that fascinating. Because, on the surface, yeah--it does look like that. Like, we're surrounded by a room full of people and everyone's looking at a tiny screen instead of one another. I was at a Super Bowl party the other night and almost everyone was looking into their iPhone--commenting on one another's Facebook statuses, pictures and comments even though we were all in the room. We could have all had that conversation in real life. But it was a fun, under the table discussion--two conversations at once.
So I guess my question is... are we becoming less social or more social? It's hard to tell.
Ten years ago, we'd have to stay home and wait by the phone to talk to a friend. Right now, we can go do whatever we want. Be with whomever we choose whenever we like--and still not miss that appointment with the other friend. We can stay connected. We can mix business and pleasure.
Are we getting quantity and the cost of quality? I honestly don't know. I just haven't stopped thinking about it since yesterday and so I thought I'd see what you guys think about it.