Our survival, as a species, is dependent upon others. Families, small communities, and tribal societies have long depended on cooperation in order to meet the needs of the group. As our population and technology have increased, the need for others has not diminished. The increasingly interconnected global nature of our world has been greatly aided through the use of the internet over the past decade. However, as often happens with technology, we’ve also lost something.
Increased use of e-mail, text messages, internet message boards, and platforms such as My Space, Facebook, and Twitter have connected people at a cost. The personal factor has diminished. Tone and facial/body language are near impossible to convey through quickly written messages. Words are taken out of context and others are said which would never have been said to a person’s face. Hurt feelings and drama abound in a virtual word of coding.
Most people I know are on Facebook and Twitter. I can see benefits to such networking platforms. However, I also see negative aspects to them. That isn’t something I need or want in my life. For me, the blatant drama, negativity, and gossip aren’t worth it to me.
“Hurt feelings and drama abound in a virtual word of coding.”
So does connection, positive connection, too. I see it daily.
I think it’s a false set-up to say some kinds of technology that were built to foster connection are good (blogging, the printing press) and some are bad (twitter, myspace). However, if you’re saying each person needs to check their limitations and the benefits for themselves, I totally agree and I’ve made similar choices.
I’ve found social networking technology brilliant (and am engaging in some right now in response to your post) but I’ve also had to carefully manage how I use it. I quit FB over a year ago for what seems like similar reasons you describe. But I know many people and activists who are active in these edifices and do not suffer lack of connection in their life nor are bogged down by “drama” – and who help a lot of people, including themselves.
There is definitely opportunity for positive connection, I agree. I don’t think there are good and bad technologies. Benefits depend greatly on how one uses them. I think sometimes people forget about accountability, though, when it comes to such technologies, blogs included. In that lies the problem and where we begin to lose that personal connection.
I agree (although I also know many people who conduct themselves IRL without a sense of accountability).
I think one of the reasons my writing is a success (for me personally on emotional and mental planes and in terms of readership and response) is because I hold accountability as a core value. Or at least I think I do! 🙂
Thanks for your post, and I hope others who read her reflect on what they are getting from their relationships and how they might want to change strategies if necessary.
Maybe you are lucky enough to live within an easy distance of family… we are far flung around the globe. It can make talking by phone difficult with time change and schedules. I value the social networking sites you mentioned because they let me stay in touch with my family and friends – one little story at a time. Sometimes it is even better than a phone call – a little message waiting for you the next time you log in.
I’m not saying there isn’t a downside to these technologies, only that they aren’t all bad.
I think it is wonderful that you have found a way to stay connected with your family. A supportive family is worth having. Our family has a private blog here we can post photos of our children and keep extended relatives up to date with some of our activities.
As I stated in my post, I do see benefits to those platforms, and, as I said in my earlier comment, it isn’t the platform which is good or bad. The positive and negative aspects are all in how we utilize such technologies. I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I’m not on some of the platforms – the same people who finish telling me about how they just dealt with some huge drama or he said, she said misunderstanding. For me, it hasn’t been worth it. That may change over time, but I’m content with my current means of communication.
My post wasn’t meant to imply that any particular platform was bad or evil. I was merely calling attention to the fact that a lack of accountability, and perhaps maturity, by some individuals via the web often results in decreased personal connection – the meaningful relationships we hold – with others.
I agree with your points. I’ve been appalled to see what my teenaged nieces and nephews and my former students post on their FB pages. I thought it was tough being a teenager in the 90s! These technologies do make it easier to bypass a meaningful relationship, if the user is so inclined, and hit where it hurts.
BTW – I really enjoy your blog. I’m trying to develop a more peaceful way of being with my little daughter and you’ve posted many thoughts that have stayed with me for a while – thanks!