Are We Really Socializing Anymore?

 

            The act of connecting online and meeting new friends through chat rooms have been around for at least two decades. Starting from AOL and Myspace in the 90s to early 2000s to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter being modern days’ new buzz for social media platforms. Communication has never been an issue among individuals because naturally that is what has always been done. Beginning with the grunts of the pre-historic ages to the shortening of words and phrases for “convenience” along with laziness caused by the excessive use of social media. According to the Attentiv, “1 out of every 4 people socializes more online than in person, 32% of people would rather text you than talk to you, and a whopping 51% of teens would rather communicate digitally than in person (even with friends).” These statistics have not lowered and at the pace the digital world is going, there is no doubt that future generations will fall into the category of preferring to speak through a screen solely. The next time you go out, whether it’d be grabbing a bite with family, kicking it with some friends, or even walking your dog, take a look around and observe the amount of people that have a phone in hand, are in a group setting and are staring at screens instead of each other, or are simply waiting in a line fiddling with a smartphone. It is very eye-opening to see how consumed many are with a screen as well as experiencing the effects of the overuse of social media and a digital device in general. It takes up room for creativity, self-thinking, self-reliance, and the root of humanity, communication.

The new age has definitely redefined the term socializing into a word which no longer signifies making eye contact and physically speaking to another individual but meaning to make connections online. A juxtaposition in a way. “If one person in a group is using their phone, that opens the door for others, who may start to think it’s socially acceptable just because they keep seeing people do it.”, The Atlantic states in a psychological observation. It is also thought that since every other person is on their phone within the social setting, then there is nothing for those without a device to result too but fidget with their phone even if there is nothing to check or do at the moment. A balance should be made when using social media during a group gathering of course. Taking a picture of a delicious plate that you rarely have, a moment in time with family or friends, or something you’ve never seen is a temptation proven difficult to avoid. Especially if you have the resource at hand. Which is not such a bad thing if the discipline of knowing when to and when to not use a phone in a social gathering is practiced.  People skills are diminishing by the second and in front of our very eyes. Creating a connection with a person does not take much but once one becomes accustomed to hiding behind a screen for comfort, it makes making new bonds with people very difficult. Getting to know someone as a companion or potential lover nowadays is more straight forward with the invention of direct messaging as well. The Atlantic makes a comment on this topic of relationships by stating that, “previous research has found that people were less satisfied with their romantic relationships the more their partner overused their phone.”. This is also where trust comes into play when you are romantically involved with someone.

Overall, the basic principles of good communication don’t change between generations. Listening, remaining concise, and including all the important details are as important as they’ve ever been; the difference now is the modes of communication we choose to apply those fundamentals.