Are social media and our beloved mobile devices making us more or less connected?
On the one hand, with all the distractions at our fingertips, it’s a lot harder to get or give undivided attention. Look around any public place—or private home, for that matter—and you’ll see people (probably lots of them) gathered in one place but all looking at their phones, tablets, or computers. A family may be sitting around the dinner table “together,” but worlds apart.
On the other hand, without Facebook, I doubt very much I would be communicating almost daily with my nieces and nephews—certainly not with their spouses or in-laws. I see photos of long-distance friends and extended family members, and hear tales of their adventures, that would be unavailable to me without social media. Facebook has revived some valuable friendships that I had allowed to wither and nurtured some brief encounters into friendships.
And what about texting? Would I call my adult children or my siblings more often if it wasn’t so convenient to just send a text? Would I have heartfelt personal conversations rather than brief written words (ending with heart or smiley face emoticons, of course). Or are those texts “extra” communications that wouldn’t have happened at all without my handy smart phone? At least they know I’m thinking of them, even if one of us is unavailable to take a phone call.
For me, social media and mobile devices make it easier to be connected with more people, and especially those with whom I would not otherwise be close; but those same devices make it more challenging to deeply connect with those I’m closest to, those with whom I would make the effort to stay connected, even without an easy electronic means.
What about you? Do you feel more or less connected since social media and mobile devices became widely available?
Do you even remember the pre-mobile device world?