does social media make us unsociable?

Something must have happened again. It might be the terrible weather – the stifling heat, warm and uncomfortable – that saps away all the energy for any forms of creative writing.

Having put these off for a few days, I’ve decided to gather my thoughts on some issues I’ve been pondering about and address them briefly over the next few days.

Does social media makes us less sociable? 
Some days I stare at my Hootsuite and the vast amount of information shared across multiple platforms. I think about the articles posted via Twitter, numerous connections on LinkedIn and my close friends on Facebook. Needless to mention, the various email accounts I maintain for work and personal reasons. Seems like I’ve covered all grounds in forging ties, haven’t I? But something’s lacking, right?

Right. I believe that phone conversations are valuable every so often, but I also appreciate face-to-face interactions. The convenience of a re-tweet or “like” has encouraged greater inertia in writing full replies and sometimes, even creating the impression that we have interacted sufficiently to avoid a meet-up. Our habitual screen-facing routine has resulted in less sociable individuals. Calling to check on your availability for dinner can be replaced by a text message or email. Meetings might be replaced by Facebook chats, IMing/PMing and other means that allows for conversational text chats.

I like social media in all its ways that has made our life more invariably intertwined. I see the value of social media in business, and in personal interactions just as WordPress allowed me to meet all of you. Social media helps to transcend borders for greater interaction; it bridges time differences across the globe and keeps the ball rolling in most conversations; it generates buzz with a relatively small investment that encourages start-ups and more. But we really shouldn’t neglect the good ol’ traditional means that have brought us as far as we have come today. Sometimes a snail mail, phone call or knock on the door might bring a pleasant surprise amidst the sea of social interactions.

It is up to the user to draw the line differentiating effective engagement and over-reliance. It cannot go wrong to call up a friend, colleague or even acquaintance to catch up over coffee. A good conversation can inspire greater ideas for work or hobbies – which you can then share as a status update or photo on your favourite social media site too! 🙂

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17 thoughts on “does social media make us unsociable?

    • Absolutely – you picked up what I was going to talk about next. SM is perfect for businesses, yet w have those who are so risk-averse that they avoid social media altogether. Then there are those who solely rely on social media such that they might be handicapped if given a print ad creative brief. Either ways it all lies in the user 🙂

  1. I have used facebook for one year. I ramped up my usage until I realized that it damages friendships because of the “anonimity” that occurs even between people who have been friends in the past. This faceless communications on facebook damages the conversations horribly. Long live Emmanuel Levinas who had much to say about face-to-face communications.

    • Perfect, Wally, so good to hear from you. I realised as much that somehow these “friendships” began to appear suspiciously distant. Eventually we stop talking or meeting up and that’s when the problem arises. Facebook’s good for us to give a shout-out or comment to a status/picture etc but we really need to keep up with the good old face-to-face communications 🙂 Hope you’re still in good contact with your friends!

  2. LOL … I “liked” this post and then realized the irony in that gesture. It’s a shame, really, that a blogging site offers a “like” button, because it’s such an easy way out for people to express approval in a meaningless and impersonal way.

    Oh well. I liked it anyway.

    • Oh Amanda! ❤ You absolutely got what I was saying! I kind of understand the rationale for a "like" on blogs though. Sometimes we just don't know what to say even if we enjoyed the post, so a "like" is an easy, but relatively-acceptable way of expressing approval 🙂 At least it tells me you came by, thanks!

  3. Great question. I agree that we have shrugged off real, meaningful interactions for these quick, click-of-a-button responses that seem to get the job done. I think many are looking for some kind of a connection with others through these avenues, but ultimately for me, it is not nearly as fulfilling as some quality face time. However, for someone that moved around a lot while growing up, it’s great to be able to connect with old friends via facebook. I love seeing their photos and hearing random things about their lives without having to have an intense hour-long conversation with each of them. And many of those people disappeared from my life for years before we reacquainted on FB.

    Then there’s the like button… I like it when it allows me to acknowledge something, but prevents me from chattering to much or wasting everyone’s time with a pointless comment.

    Anyway, I could go on forever. I guess it’s all what we choose to make of it. 🙂

    • Spot on. Click-of-a-button and I’ve supposedly expressed my feelings towards a statement. I use social media to connect with friends halfway round the globe too, and it’s always fun to see how life is for them. And indeed I found many long-lost friends on social media. Good point on the comment – sometimes it’s easier to “like” as an acknowledgement rather than saying something pointless. I guess it’s a matter of practising discretion in using social media 🙂

    • Me too 😉 It’s a good starting point to reach out to your pals, just remember to follow-up with a drink? Some folks say you need to be social to be on social media (i.e. you must have been at a social activity to share a picture/comment in the social space). I don’t quite agree. In any case, I’m glad social media gave us the chance to “meet” here! 🙂

  4. I have to admit, I only just joined the Facebook mania and only use it occasionally. I sometimes think these social networks are a cop out and stop people from communicating face-to-face. Yet, they have a place for those individuals who are shy, introverted, house-bound, and find it difficult to converse. Though, I have to admit via the wordpress community, I have ‘met’ a wonderfully diverse group of people. Some do have value.
    Fantastic post by the way. 😉

    • Thank you! Yes the wordpress community is full of amazing knowledge! Social media gives good outlets for quick communications, hopefully it’ll be a useful conversation-initiation tool!

  5. Social media is such a huge factor in the evolution of human interaction. I agree with your well-written post. There’s a book I intend to read next that speaks of this subject, “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle. It was reviewed by another blog I read. (Not a plug, just wondered if you heard of it)
    Love your work!
    Thanks for checking out my last post and “liking” it!

    • Nope I haven’t seen this book, but I’m now searching to find out more about it 🙂 Indeed it has revamped the ways we consider “interaction” and it continues to evolve before some of us catch up with it. Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Pingback: now social media can kill our self esteem too? | rustic recluse

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