Following on from my recent article, ‘How will Social Media Reshape the Way we do Church?’ I stumbled on an article published on Schools.com which asks the question, Is how we socialize online eroding our real-life relationships? The article written by Kristin Marino centred on this Fascinating Infographic: Exposes How We Use Social Media
Half way through, the infographic asks a question, Does Social media ease loneliness, or help create it? And then quotes some amazing statistics, that 39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than face to face. I also wrote an article recently on philpetty.com drawing insights from a TED talk by Sherry Turkle on ‘Connected, but alone?’. Sherry is a psychologist and sociologist who has been studying how technology changes not only what we do but who we are?
What’s interesting is that in both these articles Turkle and Marino present us with similar concerns. Turkle through her book points out that we are ‘Alone Together’ and that social media is eroding the art of face to face conversation. Where Marino asks the question, Is social media making us socially awkward?
In my last article How will Social Media Reshape the Way we do Church? I entertained the notion that mobile GPS enabled technology could draw people into more face to face meetings, but Marino and Turkle through their studies suggest that this may not be the case. It seems that more and more we want to be in control of who and what gets our attention and social media allows us to believe that we are more in control of who and what we interact with. My teenage son pointed out to me that people don’t like their friends knowing where they are through GPS enabled applications because they want to remain in control of who they meet.
For Christians there is an important lesson to be learned. If the infographic is right and 33% of us would rather make new connections with people on-line than face to face then we have our work cut out. If Turkle and Marino are right, and more and more of us are using social media to control who we interact with, then perhaps our ability to reach people will depend on our ability to capture their attention through social media?
Check out the infographic published by Schools.com :
Courtesy of: Schools.com