The more connected, the more distant our interactions

Meghan Miller reports from Octorara High School:

A young man and woman are out on a blind date. The woman enters the restaurant and spots the man, but before they can exchange their first real hellos, a cellphone buzzes with a Facebook notification.

The man pulls out his phone to find that someone “liked” his photo, and he momentarily becomes self-absorbed with the photo’s comments.

Well, as the adage goes, “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.”

Today, with the strong presence of social media, such a scene is not that unusual.

“Using a cellphone in a social setting is much like yawning in a conversation; it’s a nonstarter,” said Jordan Driskill, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Using a cellphone in a social setting is merely a tool that can be used when the party is just not living up to its expectations or John is telling you that story about the homeless guy for the 11th time so you take the opportunity to snap a selfie,” said Driskill.

So Driskill, like so many of us, grabs a smartphone as a subterfuge.

As society becomes more connected by digital communication, the effects of social media on interpersonal relationships can vary, according to a study of area students and professors.

Teenagers and others who grew up immersed in the social-media culture notice a distance that social media create in relationships.

In a survey of 52 people ages 15 to 25, 46 percent answered that social media have an adverse effect on personal interaction.

“I think in order to truly feel connected to someone, you need an emotional basis, and I simply don’t see any way this is possible through a monitor,” said James Wier, 18 a freshman at Immaculata University.

“When people meet in groups, I often find that at least half of them are on their phones, and not talking to each other,” said Rachel Anderson, 18, a senior at Octorara High. “We’re so wrapped up in keeping up with our social-media updates that we ignore the real-life updates of our friends and family.”

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4 responses to “The more connected, the more distant our interactions

  1. As someone who has lived without social media and with, I vote for without! No one calls on the phone anymore. I used to talk to my best friend for 2 hours on the phone. And Laugh!!! I miss her more but I miss those phone calls. I don’t even know what my daughter looks like anymore because I only get a text message every once in awhile. I don’t think it’s a good thing to be so connected to everything we forget to relax, go outside and read a book. Not a Kindle. Life just moves too fast anymore! Period! And social media has a lot to do with that. Makes me kind of sad in a way! Where did everybody go??

  2. Debbie I do’t have a home phone, but if I did I would talk your ear off. I need to call Jim sometime and ask him about a project that happened in the borough that the tax payers paid for, and I’m sure it wasn’t made public.

  3. I have been out of town a lot the last few months working, but I will make time to meet with you guys for lunch sometime to hear your concerns. Thank you for your support, and don’t forget to vote this election!

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