November 30th, 2009 15:00 EST
Social Networking: Society's Achilles Heel
I love social networking. Facebook, LinkedIn, and all of the different tools that are out there to help us connect and re-connect are great. I have re-connected with friends from high school and college who I had completely lost track of. I even reconnected with some of my very good junior high school buddies and incredibly, the Internet also helped me to re-connect with my long lost, best friend from elementary school.
I am a big fan of it, so I don`t have any intention of knocking social networking. The business opportunities and relationships that have come out of it have been absolutely stellar. But there are a lot of people who I know personally who clearly have taken social networking too far -- at least too far for me.
I use the computer as a tool to bring people into my life. The next step, if appropriate, is to get them on the telephone, ultimately for the purpose of having a face to face meeting so that we can move the relationship forward.
But for others, the telephone and the face to face interaction that is so valuable to me, is not on the table.
As I watch my kids -- who are busy texting and chatting on Facebook -- the telephone and the personal interaction side of the relationship is starting to fall away. This concerns me a lot because personal interaction is the name of the game. Maybe life will be different in 20 years, but I can`t imagine that there will ever come a time when human beings will surrender personal contact as a way of "getting the job done."
My son plays video games that have the most eye-popping graphics and state-of-the-art sound imaginable. The marketing behind these games has been fantastic. In order to play over the internet, each kid has to have their own console, so they sell many times as more consoles as they would have otherwise. But the impact is that when kids play over the Internet, they don`t play as a group in somebody`s living room. Instead, the kids play all alone over the internet and at the end of the day they are all by themselves.
My daughter goes to various friends` houses and many of the moms are chatting on Facebook or they are playing video games -- again, sitting in a room all alone.
Is it good to be in a room all alone, even if you are chatting or texting? That`s not the way that I live my life. I like to be around other people, but everybody gets to pick how they live their life and I am just one guy asking the question...
"Is Social Networking Making Us Less Social?"
What do you think?
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