Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is the biggest impact of all this technology-driven social networking?

Depth.

Technology these days is amazing. We can instantly communicate with anybody in the world at the touch of a button (e.g., email, texting, IM, video chat, call, etc.) And, social networking sites let us maintain contact with an ever increasing number of people.

However, have you ever noticed when you are in a public place how many people are totally engrossed on their handheld devices -- reading, typing, talking -- disconnected from the real-world? What happens when you take it to an extreme, unplug from the real-world and connect to a virtual one being fed to you electronically?

On the good side, it seems like we are having more interactions with more people than ever before. On the bad side, these interactions seem to be increasingly reactive, quick, short, and devoid of real human contact and depth.

What happened to slowing the world down to have a nice meaningful conversation with a real person? What about being able to laugh and touch and play with somebody. What about a meaningful exchange with a far away friend or loved one through a good old letter?

Is it better to have quick shallow interactions with a lot of people or a few slow deep ones. Are we losing depth while we expand breadth?

Could we have both? I think so but we need to fight the pull of one to give the other a chance. When in doubt, chose depth and disconnect for a while.

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