Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Remember that time you where really sick and Facebook brought you your homework and made copies of it's notes so you wouldn't fall behind in class? You don't? How about when you and Twitter went to that crazy party and had such a great time? Doesn't ring a bell? Not even that silly game you and Myspace played when you where kids? Nothing at all? In that case, congratulations! Like me, you too have just realized that you have no friends and will be forever alone.


OK, maybe it isn't as dramatic as that, but the point I'm trying to make is that there is a problem inherent to all these Social Networking sites that is contradictory to their very purpose. Major parts of social interaction are being replaced by very impersonal digital counterparts. There's all this amazing technology and software being created in order to unite the world and unfortunately all is doing is making human beings more and more disconnected because the reality of it is that you end up interacting with computer instead of real people.

After careful research and polling (I'm totally making this up but it's probably true), I have found that 90% of Social Network users have over 100 friends listed on their accounts. Seriously, look at your own accounts. and now think about how many of the people in the list are truly your friends? How many of them do you talk to on a regular basis or even manage to hang out with? I bet if you where to delete the ones that don't match that criteria the numbers would be greatly reduced right? Now don't get me wrong. I understand the point of networking is to create a large group of people connected in one way or another. And this is fantastic if you want to promote a business or a cause you believe in or some hilarious insightful blog written by a totally handsome dude, but honestly, this is not what you will find in your updates seeing as how they are mostly composed of all of us saying we are bored and then posting the latest Youtube video that entertained us!

And that is exactly where things go wrong with Social Networks. They might have been created to connect people, but little by little they have just become the latest form of entertainment for us all. You know I'm right! And I don't mean just the games either. Bored at work? Check for updates! Traffic light? Check for updates! Waiting in line? Check for updates! Bathroom Break? Check for updates! No updates? Reload just in case you missed any updates! I know I'm not making that up. We don't check because we have a true interest on what's new in the lives of those we care about, we check because it's entertaining to know what everyone else is up to.

And it's not to say that there aren't any meaningful posts either. Among the barrage of  "I'm bored" and "I'm mad" and "People are Stoopid" posts there's always a great pearl of wisdom or some valuable bit of information, but we are so conditioned to pointless impersonal banter that we end up responding in very detached ways if we even choose to respond at all (Thank you very much "Like" button). Because the information is so compressed and readily available, we don't have to ask questions and start conversations. We simply stop making a conscious effort to maintain real contact with the people around us and so we end up with 10,000 friends and wondering why we still feel kind of lonely.

I'm probably not going to stop using networking sites anytime soon. Like I said, they do serve a fantastic purpose. I however, have come to the realization that I want to make a conscious choice to both maintain and reinforce my connections to the people I care about because it's really hard to take my desktop to the beach or out for coffee without looking like a complete fool, and when I think about all the good times, I don't remember seeing some glorified beeper there when we had to run away from the cops after stealing those llamas and having those jousting matches inside the closed mall we broke into (you guys know who you are). But I digress, point is all these things are just tools to help us connect and they should be used as such because the click of a mouse will never replace the good times with those we love!