You hear a lot about social networking these days… mostly about making online connections through social media. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but something important is missing from digital networks. Live, face-to-face personal contact.
So many people seem to be literally “out of touch,” too caught up in their busy, complicated lives to spend time focused on each other. Family members live in the same house together, but interact very little. When friends get together, they are often distracted by tweets, text messages and other digital “contact” from people who are elsewhere. And the guy who always tried to dominate conversation at a party has now upgraded to new technology that enables him to drown out everyone else with a flood of digital drivel shared with a few hundred of his closest online “friends.”
Social networking is essential for people to feel fulfilled. Digital media create new communication opportunities, which are fine—as long as they don’t crowd out the traditional ones. There’s no substitute for making eye contact with an old friend… giving a hug to someone who’s sad… throwing your two cents’ worth into a loud, lively debate… sharing ideas with colleagues at work.
We all need to change with the times, and many of the new technologies—the new networking opportunities—are fun! But I hope we won’t lose sight of the value of good, old-fashioned “face time.”