Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Technology is Not Social, People Are

I came across this statement online a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. It's so true and recently I've been reading a lot about how most people believe the opposite. True, technology can make you feel more social, but just because you have 800+ friends on Facebook, you might not really be all that social.

Don't get me wrong, I love technology. I work on a Web site so I can't lie and say that technology is a bad thing. Social networking has allowed me to keep in touch with friends from home, this blog has given me an outlet for my thoughts, and technology has allowed us to be much more efficient. But sometimes I wonder if we are actually losing the art of being social. Lately I feel that it's harder and harder for people to live in the "offline" world.

Just today, Mashable.com posted an article summarizing the results of a survey they gave to professionals which found that smartphones and intimate relationships tied at 40% for the number one thing respondents can’t live without.

Yesterday, I read an article in the Des Moines Register where the head of my undergrad university's journalism school said, "Cell phones convey one message and one only, whether calling, texting or watching a movie, and it's that something somewhere else is more important than the person we are with."

Everyday I watch my fellow commuters immersed in their Blackberries all the way to work. I come home and watch my roommates chat online and send and receive emails all night. Walk into a bar and everyone sitting there will have a phone out in front of them. Customers in stores often talk on their phones through their entire interaction with the sales clerk.

Life is busy and I admit that I am guilty of doing the same things from time to time but I hope that I never lose that desire to interact with the real world. It makes me sad that all of this technology now means that it can be rare to even have a conversation where both parties are fully present and sometimes I just long for old school face-to-face interaction.