Step Back (From Your Machine) And Make Friends

We increasingly hear about how social online networks are. I question the accuracy of these claims. Is a relationship that exists strictly online truly social? I don’t think it is. I think the bridge must be built from online to off, or the quality of relations will suffer or drop off altogether.
Technology aside, many people are struggling to establish and maintain personal relationships today. Reuters reports that Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had “zero” close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.
Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review said that part of the cause could be that Americans are working more, marrying later, having fewer children, and commuting longer distances.
Ties to a close network of friends creates a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a longer life, Smith-Lovin said.

It seems to me communications technology is one of the most paradoxical realities of our time. We have all these devices to connect us to other people, but the more info we put in and extract from our machines, the less attention we have to invest in people. There’s something seriously wrong here.
[via Bullshit Observer]

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Disc golfer. Fan of Kurt Vonnegut, community radio and wolves in the wild. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp.

  • nancy

    I see a handful people regularly on my way into town on my bike everyday. We exchange smiles and hellos. Eye contact. This actually makes my day at times. If any of them needed something/ some help I would stop immediately or go to the next place of business to get help. I call them blue t-shirt guy, super athletic young dude, jogging gal in great shape, etc. I have no idea what their actual names are, but these people are even considered “friends” presently as I see them more than any of my neighbors.
    On the other hand some people I have been conversing with online for over eight years, rarely show me their true face with their own true color smiles.
    Happy Go forth and make a friend this holiday weekend!