Many people feel that with the advances in technology we are moving towards a more anti-social/stay-home society. The movie Wall-E did a good job of showing what a society like this may end up being; major weight gain, people mentally lost in a cyber world, individuals extremely oblivious to a non-virtual world. The upcoming movie Surrogate takes this concept a step further by showing us what the world would be like if we were all able to simply plug in and let a robot physically live our lives for us. With the advances in technology it seems that we have more opportunities to connect with one another, so are people really getting lost in a cyber world, or is this an exaggeration of the statistics of internet usage?
Many of us shake our heads when we hear of things like teens sending text messages to their parents in the next room, and I would assume that I’m not the only one guilty of finding out what was going on in someone’s life via the web instead of calling to see how they were, but it is a rare day that I would opt out of spending time with a friend because I wanted to interact with others online. Although there are instances when using social media leads to healthy face-to-face interactions.
I took an internet addiction test via www.netaddiction.com/ and scored a 29, which states “You are an average on-line user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage.” I figured as much, although I really enjoy spending time amongst my “tweeples” (twitter peoples) and my Facebook friends, I prefer to spend time out and about with people face to face.
Although I do not represent the majority of internet users, I am an average user, and as an average user I can see how new technology can consume a person’s time, but the idea that we are all moving towards an anti-social society is a bit of a stretch to me.
When you break it down, humans desire social interactions, and for most, internet, text message and even phone calls cannot replace a traditional face-to-face interaction. In fact it has been my experience that when I network on twitter with others in my field I tend to say to myself “this person must be cool in person.”
According to Ruder Finn’s Intent Index, “More than twice as many people go online to socialize (82%) than to do business (39%) or shop (31%),” while this is a great deal of users, it does not mean that the internet has replaced the traditional relationships.
Again, the few people that find it better to socialize with others via new technology are usually not social butterflies. The internet usually isn’t the cause of anti-social behavior, but can be used as an outlet for a person that is not very social to begin with. I think many of us that do socialize via the web are just being more adequate with finding people we want to be social with!