Have you ever run into the “which social network do you use” problem? When you meet someone for the first time, you normally don’t give out your phone number. Perhaps times have changed because in the past the phone number was really all we had back in the 90’s. Today, we live in a world full of social networks where our options expand far greater than 10. When you want to exchange information with someone you don’t really know well enough, but you are willing “give it a try”, you simply ask them “Hey what are you using”?
Some of the most popular apps include Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, FB Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp. These applications socially connect us in ways we weren’t able to do 20 years ago. It is truly amazing that we can be connected far more than ever before, but what are the consequences?
According to Craig Calhoun, an American sociologist,the easier it becomes to stay in contact with people, the harder it becomes to dedicate time for these friends and family members. He goes into amazing detail about the rise of information technology and the fall of direct relationships. It is a lengthy read, so prepare yourself.
Is there a solution?
There is never a perfect solution, but something that seems clear is that social technology isn’t going away. The changes we’ve had are too massive and would affect everyone. We do believe that there are some “variations” that have yet to be implemented. Before we get into what “we believe” the first thing that we would like to discuss is human-to-human connection.
No matter how much technology is available to us, you cannot remove our basic human needs. Our need to connect, to love, to inspire, to relate, to empathize, the list goes on. This is why such applications like Tinder have had major success in our world. Tinder, for example, drives users to eventually connect, even though the relationship begins online. The goal is to get offline, and find a potential match or “date”. Life isn’t always about dating, as social relationships and friendships also play an important role in our social being.
The next generation of adults will have spent most of their lives maintaining social relationships online. There are obvious pros and cons to this, but the goal isn’t to search for all the problems with this, the best thing to do is to find a potential solution or adjustment. We believe the best social communities will support a balance of online activity, with offline activity. This sounds easy in theory, but it is much more difficult when practiced. When relationships begin online, it is much easier to say the things you want to say, or support a profile that may not necessarily be “realistic” to keep up in person. Once you bring these relationships offline, without a major catalyst that pushes people together people won’t race to communicate with one another, even if they are online friends.
Chances are high that they may not even recognize the person they have talked with. The solution isn’t clear, but the goal is to strike a balance between who we are, what we have, and where we are going. If we can successfully create a harmonious pairing of our online and offline interactions, perhaps one day the social network that we deserve will appear.
What would your solution be?
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