The following Roland’s Ramblings entry was originally posted in my Roland Hansen Commentary blog on July 20, 2009. I believe it is just as true today as it was then, perhaps even moreso; I know it is in my personal life.
The term social network has expanded to mean more than what it used to mean, especially given the electronic age with internet services, e-mails, texting via cell phone, blueberries, blacktooth, and whatever else these new-fangled techno things are called.
A social network, none-the-less, should not be confused with a social network service. All these social network services have provided a means to communicate with others.
But wait! Is that necessarily an advancement in human interpersonal communications? I have always been of the opinion that the best communication occurs when people are doing so face-to-face. More communication takes place that way in that nonverbal cues are part of the overall communication process.
The problems with social networking via e-mail, texting, and social network services are many. I will list just a few of those problems as I perceive them:
* It is less effective than communication that takes place live and in person in the same physical proximity. * Nonverbal cues are not part of the communication. * One-way communication tends to occur in that immediate feedback is not the norm. * Misunderstandings may easily occur. * Sniping, impoliteness, rudeness, etc. seem more common while civility seems less common.
Those are, as I wrote previously, just a few of the problems. However, in my opinion, there is another major problem that has occurred as a result of texting, e-mails, and electronic internet social network services.
That problem is:
More time is spent communicating electronically than in person. Interpersonal relationships are diminishing in both quantity and quality. Family and friends seem to spend less and less quality time visiting one another in person. While the younger generation may disagree with my assessment, I suggest that older people may tend to believe as I do.
Tell a grandparent that a text message or a note on a public electronic social network services is just as good as a loving smile, good live conversation, and warm hug. I suspect I know what kind of response may be given.