Don’t Blame Technology For Social Isolation
The nature of social relationships has indeed changed, but the difference is just different, not “bad.” There’s more to technology than helping individuals connect. Sometimes it’s about enabling forming new communities.
It’s more than bringing people (and their dogs) together to socialize; the technology around us fosters change, the majority of which I see as good. Technology brings us together in ways we never could have imagined and enables community and change we never would have considered, without it. Blaming technology for isolation may simply be making it a scapegoat for something that would have happened anyway. People isolate themselves, regardless of what’s available to them.
Just because they’re not willing or able to connect with you in the way you want doesn’t mean they’re isolating themselves. It’s very possible — even likely — they’re more connected than you know, using technologies you’ve elected to pass by. Even the kids spending time on their mobile devices are using those devices to connect, though it may be in ways you and I are unfamiliar with.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, humans are identified as having character, weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility – attributes that characterise us as a species like no other on this planet. It seems that claiming that we’re all getting more lonely is a lucrative niche sector for the publishing industry. It’s one of those things that lots of people want to believe, so books that support that worldview are quite popular.
Get connected: using technology for a better cause
- Learn to Skype, Facetime, SnapChat, or whatever it is the kids you know are doing these days.
- Write an email rather than lamenting that no one writes letters anymore. Letters are appreciated just as much as ever; we just send them electronically these days.
- Join a discussion or Meetup group related to your interests. It could be local, leading to in-person events, or it could be global, creating interactions you never would have dreamed possible in years gone by.
- Embrace new ways of connecting with the world and the people around you.
- Make a difference. Be it to someone (perhaps an overseas grandchild who’s never heard your voice) or to some cause, use technology to make the world a little better.
- Share what you learn with others. That will connect you to more people in ways you can’t imagine.
Why its not technology’s fault?
Social media, and smartphones for that matter, only contributes to making our social experiences richer by connecting us with people in new ways. Compared to those who do not use the internet, most people who use the internet and use a social networking service, such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn, have social networks that are about 20% more diverse.
Technology is enriching our lives, connecting us to the people that matter the most to us regardless of how far away they are, connecting us to all kinds of people whom we wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Why use technology in a limit.
Addictive by nature, social media sites are impacting negatively on our societies. This can be seen every day on the news with increasing cases of cyber-bullying, harassment, theft and sexual crimes, meaning that our community is not as ‘together’ as we like to think it is. It is a scary fact that numerous teens with Facebook accounts don’t fully understand the implications of having a public profile thus making themselves vulnerable to danger. To them, each of their Facebook friends is someone to be trusted and perhaps have some fun chatting to; however, the frightening truth is that they could be talking to anyone.
No longer satisfied with human relations, we are psychologically (and egoistically) building our own modified, digital representation of ourselves in a fantasy world. Yet, with social media references all around us, it is impossible to escape the grip that technology has on today’s society.
True that our generation is overdosing on digital media. Members of the community are lacking from everything that makes them human – weaknesses, imperfections, fragility all that we see are the manipulated, faultless versions of people online. But what the research shows is that technology is a tool, and people use it for a variety of purposes. Some use it to avoid contact with people, while others use it to increase their contact with people. You can’t blame the technology for how people use it.
Technology isn’t bad. You’re just upset with yourselves for having a lack of self-control. You hate that people connect through technology. And maybe, you just don’t like seeing people love themselves, enjoy life, and feel joy. That’s your problem, not technology’s.