The Arts of Conversation and Person to Person Contact Lost to Social Networking
October 21, 2007 10:20am CST
More and more, people are "meeting" each other to "socialize" via the computer and the Internet. The number of "social networks" like MySpace, Yuwie, and even myLot are growing phenomenally. They consume people to the point where they get more enjoyment out of sitting in front of their computers "talking" to their "friends". Unlike the trend with "chat", it would seem there are not so many in person meetings or real life hookups going on as there were at first with Internet. Society as a whole has become "afraid" of stalkers and liars and pretenders who turn out not to be the people we "know" from the computer. Besides, we're too busy typing away to go out of the house and actually meet someone. We may add relatives and real life friends to our social networks but how much sense does that really make when you're right in the same house, probably in adjacent rooms. Come on, you know you're guilty, just like I am, of instant messaging a member of the household to either pass them some family information or even just to let them know that dinner is ready. In fact, maybe im'ing is the only way to get through to some people in your house because they hole up in their rooms, maybe with headphones on, either voice chatting or listening to their mp3 players while they use their social networks, check their email, and maybe play "parlor" games with people from who knows where. Some of us are old enough to remember sitting around the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, just "shooting the breeze" with family and friends. Friends used to come to the door without calling first. Maybe there was a friendly card or board game. If you had a cup of tea, you offered one to other people too instead saying BRB while you made it for yourself. It's rather sad really. I wonder if my grandchildren will know what it's like to see people face to face? Or are we quickly approaching the Star Trek and Jetson scenarios where you see the person you are talking to only on a screen? Maybe, we are in fact already there!
22 Oct 07
It's always easy to think of people who need to see or hear something. Often we sit in church and think of people who should be there hearing a particular sermon. It's much easier to point fingers than it is to look at something and think, "That applies to me."
22 Oct 07
No, I don’t think we are approaching the jetson scenario too fast, too soon (tho the Jetsons remain one of my all time fav families). What you say definitely has merit but like everything else, some things will stay while some things will evolve. The art of chatting and of conversing are some of these. Meeting & chatting will stay no matter what while connecting & conversing will evolve further. I think there is a subtle difference between these. The world is truly moving towards being a global village and our tiny neighbourhood is no longer what it was. In the same neighbourhood, how many oldies actually live anymore. People are shifting, moving to newer places for a host of reasons, settling in new places, strangers are becoming neighbours, friends are busy chasing so many things and the extended family is also busy with its own agenda. Life itself has so many choices that for most parts, we are way short of time to actually go somewhere and meet people. We have become a lot more selfish really, but it can’t be helped. It’s a part of our evolution and global development. And then there are the various stages of one’s life. Like when I was a kid till my young age, I had plenty of time to meet, sit and chat with friends over coffee or maybe the movie. We went to each others’ house and had lovely get-togethers. Now we don’t have the time anymore. An e-card, an e-mail or maybe a ring are all that binds us now. The intention is there, the connection is there, the time is not. On the other side too, I find e-connecting very advantageous and enlightening. Here I am responding to your discussion and many similar ones without even stepping out of my house. If I had to, I could never have ‘met’ so many people. There is no way I can afford to travel so much (financially speaking). So I am glad that I can e-converse. Then again, there are the shy types who are tongue-tied in front of others. They have a lot bubbling inside, yet they cannot frame these words well. But they are just fabulous while penning down their thoughts. For them too, the e-world is a wonderful place to vent their true feelings. Budding writers and poets too have a ready audience in the e-world for evaluation. All in all as I said, I don’t think catching up with friends and relatives will disappear altogether, their frequencies may reduce. The friendly board-game maybe restricted to festivities and the humble tea can be shared only on special occasions. But connecting will definitely evolve further and I don’t mind that.
22 Oct 07
You're probably right about the older generation slowly being phased out to therefore exclude the ones who don't know much about technology. My mom lives in a retirement community of all pastors' widows. Most of them are over 75 and there are several of them that use computers and internet and have their own computers and email, including my mom.
22 Oct 07
I think you have some good thoughts. Sometimes it's also an issue for me that I find I want to share things I've found on the internet with friends and familly - and they're not always interested! So the online friends are great for sharing the online interests. One thing I think is really good is when you have (as I do) family and friends in different countries and then you can use sites such as Facebook to keep in contact. It's great when you want to say something or share photos but it's not a good time to ring the other side of the world.
22 Oct 07
People who don't like computers tend to block out conversation that has ANYTHING to do with Internet or computers. There are some pretty universal subjects online if they wouldn't be so narrowminded. They also tend to point fingers and say that computer users are ALL addicts, so they just block us out. There are so many good resources on recipes, music, etc. and so many subjects that we are used to dealing with on a "real life" basis. You just can't change the minds of some people.