Social networking? What happened to human contact?

Facebook? We don't need no stinkin' Facebook

 

Facebook? We don’t need no stinkin’ Facebook

Fred First over at Fragments from Floyd is bemoaning a perceived “loss of community” in his blog, saying people just don’t comment as much as they used to and there’s not appetite for discussion on issues he finds important.

Methinks Fred doth protest too much but his thoughts cause me to wonder if what he sees as a loss of community in the online world is an opening to try something new and different.

Like talking to folks face-to-face.

I’m about to pull the plug on my Facebook account because, like most things on the Internet nowadays, it has become a cesspoll of political hyperbole and commercial excess.

On a typical morning, one has to wade through a tsunami of political propaganda and/or a garbage heap of autobot-created links from “apps” to get to a single word or thought produced by an independent-thinking human being.

I’d bet that the average Facebook user has no desire to deal with dozens of tirades against (pick one) Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, et. al.  It’s hard to interact with auto-generated garbage created by gambling, gaming or information-gathering “apps” whose primary purpose is to generate more mindless dribble to add to the scrapheap.

Walter Pachero, writing for The Orlando Sentinel, discovered much of the same:

Henrich Ellison is moments away from “unfriending” his cousin on Facebook.

Ellison, a 32-year-old telemarketer from Orlando, is a Democrat, and his cousin is a Republican. Though he doesn’t mind the party differences, he’s grown tired of the negative images and comments his cousin posts about President Barack Obama and the party platform.

“I never really share my political views on Facebook, and I don’t mind that she shares hers, but now she’s in high gear, and [the posts] are getting uglier,” Ellison said. “I think I’ve tolerated it for as long as I can.”

A tidal wave of political content is flooding Facebook users’ news feeds as Election Day approaches, and many users are scrambling for ways to navigate through it. Should users block or unfriend a family member, co-worker or close friend and risk triggering an uncomfortable conversation? Or is there a less-stressful substitute?

Amen. For me, “social networking” is accomplished over coffee and farm-fresh eggs at Blue Ridge Restaurant or coffee and a pork-tenderloin biscuit at Express Mart.  I get more real information on how real people feel about Obama or Romney in face-to-face conversations in the lobby of the Post Office or on the street on any given day.

I don’t text, I find myself using email less and less and would rather talk to someone face-to-face or — if necessary — on the phone rather than use email.  You can’t read body language or gauge a tone of voice through email.

Face-to-face:  Maybe it’s the next big thing.

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3 thoughts on “Social networking? What happened to human contact?”

  1. I’ve made a lot of friends all across the world that I would have never met without my blog. Fred is one of them. 300 miles is a little bit out of the way just to meet for coffee, so virtual interaction has to do sometimes. If my daughter ends up at Tech in a couple of years then visiting Floyd and moving Fred from imaginary Internet friend to real life friend will definitely be on the agenda. However, my life would less complete without Fred and others all across the world that I know only as pictures and words on their blogs.

  2. “Face-to-face: Maybe it’s the next big thing.”

    Ha! this is priceless 🙂 thanks for this good article. Social networking sites have been struggling with meaningfulness for decades now. Invariably, the bigger and the more successful they get, which means the better they let you connect with all the people in your life, the less useful and meaningful the activities on them. Information overload, privacy issues, shallowness, narcissism, lack of focus and purpose are killing it.

  3. While I’m not nearly ready to give up my Facebook yet, I do appreciate the real reason the traditional Amish avoid technology like phones, computers, and cars: Not because they think they’re “evil”, but because these are all things they regard as damaging to communities. If you don’t have a telephone and computer around, you have to talk to somebody face to face. If you have a wagon instead of a car, your community isn’t going to be nearly so spread out.

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