Facebooking, tweeting and texting are not only the prevalent but also the preferred forms of communication for many college students and young adults today.
Social media interaction now dominates both online and offline conversations. In a society where interacting and over-sharing online is the norm, you’re probably more likely to speak to friends and family through electronic devices than face-to-face.
But are social media and modern technology destroying our interpersonal social skills? Recent research and studies say so.
A study conducted for online casino Yazino found that one in four people spend more time socializing online, via sites such as Facebook and Twitter, than they do in person.
Too often at events or parties, guests are attached to their smartphones tweeting or texting, but no one is truly engaging or interacting with the people around them.
As more generations are born into the social age, social media will continue to be the favored communication form among young people. However, this shift may begin to affect their ability to properly communicate in person with peers.
Social media vs. interpersonal communication
“Communication is constantly evolving. Some people are as used to seeing their friends’ online avatar as they are their face,” Yazino founder Hussein Chahine said in The Telegraph. “People increasingly prefer quick and frequent engagement with instant updates on news than a prolonged chat and are also finding new ways to catch up with friends from the comfort of their sofa.”
The study also found that even when there is an opportunity to see people face-to-face, on weekends for example, up to 11% of adults still prefer to stay at home and communicate on their devices instead.
“People tend to want to show others that they are having fun than actually having fun themselves,” said University of South Florida graduate Mark Clennon.
“There’s a greater desire to share with other people you barely know, than actually hanging out with friends and making memories,” he added.
At the end of the day, nothing can replace face-to-face conversation and interactions. Despite the explosion of online endorsements and social media dialogue between individuals and brands, researchers have found word-of-mouth exchanges and in-depth conversation are still most influential.
According to the TalkTrack research used in Ed Keller and Brad Fay’s The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, our conversations in person are much more powerful than those online.
“…The decisions we make are based on true interpersonal influence: social influence, which happens most often, and most powerfully, face-to-face,” Keller and Fay note.
Keller-Fay’s TalkTrack research study also suggests that 90% of the influential conversations that we have every day happen offline, while only 8% are online.
“Social media is big and growing, but it is still dwarfed by the analog world in which people live and interact,” explain Keller and Fay.
Although being in the know and active on social media is amusing, hip and convenient, socializing online should be done in moderation when in the presence of friends at a gathering. You’ll gain much more from having an in-depth conversation with a friend, rather than tweeting back and forth with them.
Step away from the smartphone
Can’t seem to put your mobile device down when mingling with friends? Try these four suggestions to engage more with your peers.
1. For those who like to share their locations online using Foursquare and Facebook check-ins, check in before the party, concert or event even starts. Checking in and tweeting in the middle of the festivities not only takes away from your fun but also distracts you from socializing with friends and party-goers.
2. If everyone in your crew is attached to their phones when hanging out, make it entertaining by placing a bet or creating a game. Try making everyone put their cellphones away, and the first one to give in and use theirs pays for dinner. Or, have everyone place their phones in a common area at your next party; the last one to use their phone that night wins a prize or bragging rights.
3. With the increased popularity of Instagram, we all know how important it is to show everyone the fun you’re having through pictures. Why not post your pics on Facebook and Instagram at the end of the night, or after leaving an event or party? This way, you aren’t missing out on a good time with friends while frequently uploading pictures. You’ll have more great pics to choose from at the end of the night anyway.
4. When spending quality time with friends or family you haven’t seen in awhile, refrain from constantly checking and responding to emails or texts. Replying to a quick text or email during downtime is fine, but make a conscious effort to be present with the people you’re spending time with. Encourage others to do the same.
Nothing replaces the once-in-a-lifetime experiences and memories made in college, and believe it or not, even with modern technology, those moments and feelings can’t be tweeted, Facebooked or emailed.
Jasmine Fowlkes is a 2010 mass communications graduate of the University of South Florida. Currently working in New York City as a USA TODAY research analyst, she is a serious magazine addict, lover of all things electronic and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Find her on Twitter at @Jasmine_Fowlkes.
Facebook, instagram, jasmine fowlkes, social skills, technology, tweeting, Twitter, University of South Florida, OPINION, VOICES FROM CAMPUS
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”- Anthony Brandt
The name ‘social networking’ is ironical as it doesn’t bring people or families closer, instead creates big drifts in relationships with people who matter most to us. Even experts like Dr.Laura Schlessinger believe that cyber technology and social networking are having a negative effect on the family, as it has replaced the intimate interactions that used to occur within most families.
Mentioned below are a few family problems due to social networking, which I feel are common to most families.
- A normal healthy family conversation or gathering has now been replaced by text messaging sessions, thus leading to abbreviated words that lack true emotions.
- Family activity time is now replaced by endless hours of Internet surfing and chatting with people you may or may not even know. This results in hardly any kind of family bonding or intimate interaction with the ones closest to us.
- Family members get addicted to social networking sites that cause serious family problems, as they feel they would be left out if they do not keep up with the ever changing technology. They may tend to leave all their important work and prefer logging onto social networking sites many times a day, so that they can show their presence on the Internet and not miss out on any messages left by others.
- Family problems due to social networking arise when it becomes difficult for children to learn the proper social skills, which are vital to our day to day living in the ‘real’ world.
- Social networking makes you lazy and obese, which is not good for your health, as you prefer spending your hours sitting in front of your computer or laptop, chatting or surfing the Internet.
- Family problems due to social networking arise when the children and adolescent are exposed to sexual and adult content, which they may not be yet ready for.
- As per a research conducted in United States, students who use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites have a low attention span, thus score low grades in school or colleges.
- Major family problems due to social networking arise between couples leading to problems in their marriage. Either of the spouse maybe staying awake all night, chatting with strangers, and it can lead to cheating and adultery.
- Staying up all night is unhealthy, and your day job may be affected or you may not be fresh to attend school or college and would spend your time sleeping all day, when you should be working.
- Family problems due to social networking can become grave if you get fired from your job. A recent research showed that over 72% employees in a company spent nearly more than an hour on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites during work.
- Family problems can arise if you or your family members are not careful while using social networking sites. Sites like Facebook, where even though you do have an option for privacy settings, but if a hacker can get your account password in a jiffy, how long would it take them to break Facebook security and get all your details out on the web. The information posted on such sites can put you at a risk for identity theft, thus refrain from giving your phone number, address, or the name of your school or college.
- Family problems due to social networking can damage your reputation, as anything you post online is public information that anyone can view, including your employers, boss, friends, relatives, or parents, which can harm you a great deal.
Though social networking sites have their plus points too if they are used sensibly and safely, but remember, excess of everything is bad, and you need to keep your familyintact, thus do not get too involved into social networking. Life is to live and with thousand of things waiting for you in the real world, avoid any kinds of family problems due to social networking and enjoy life by living it to the fullest.
About the author
Harleena SinghHarleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences.
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