The Long and Winding Road: Well connected but still virtually isolated

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This week, rather than extol the virtues of all things technological , I want to look at the downside to this digitally supercharged life we are creating for ourselves.

We are all too aware that we are connected to each other, we can interrupt each other more easily today than ever before, we can walk away from a conversation more easily than ever before and we can overdose on a subject more easily than ever before. We have no filters anymore, we have become hedonistic in our pursuit of connection; ironic isn’t it?

Why is this the case?

It’s because we can do all these things without actually having any contact with the people we are connected to, our life and more specifically our emotional and personal relationships have become fragmented and devoid of empathy.

Let’s be brutally honest here, tell me if I am being too harsh, sometimes we need to step back and look at what we are really doing rather than what we like to think we are doing.

If we take Twitter , for example, (we could use any social site for this point) we are all connected to or ‘follow’ huge numbers of people and with a bit of luck we are in turn ‘followed’ by others.

Ask yourself why you are following those people. Chances are that , originally , you followed certain people because they do the same type of things you do, they work in a similar arena to you or you think they might provide some humour or interest to your otherwise mundane day.

What happens often is that the vast majority of those people you are ‘connected’ with neither read your ‘tweets’ nor are interested in them…you are nothing more than digital noise.

I think , if we are truly honest about why we follow some people, not all people, we think we might be able to get something for nothing from them. It might be information , it might be services etc and when we decide they have nothing to ‘offer’ we switch our attention to other people who might fill the void.

We have become very good at being rude and anonymous when on-line, we are likely not to treat people in such a way when face to face. We are,in our daily attempts to make connections, actually working diligently to destroy those connections instead. Only in the minority of cases do we have any meaningful relationship with people where we are able to share knowledge without expecting something in return. Most people either preach or sell. Most of the direct messages I get are trying to sell me something.

Why would I ever buy stuff from someone who does not know me and me not them, especially in this uniquely social environment? If this were a roadside shop it might work but not in this situation.

Anything we do consistently forms habits, are your habits truly social?

(impact of social media on our brains)

Sobering thoughts in that video, it is true, we are less connected than we like to think.

The added problem is what we have encouraged our young folk to practice on a  daily basis, it is so obvious , even to the young people, that they acknowledge the problem before we do.

So what should we understand from all this?

We need to remember that despite our ability to communicate and connect with people all over the globe , the reality is that this connection is a pale imitation of true connection on a human level. Seeing the whites of the eyes has no substitute and no matter how healthy an on-line connection might be , it is never finally confirmed until we meet face to face. The ability to share and learn at distance is liberating but all our technological advances serve only to do one thing….bring people together, face to face.

see you on the long and winding road…….  P


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