It is surely one of the greatest paradoxes of our times. We now have access to our friend network 24/7. Whether we’re embracing our favorite singles dating site or browsing through Instagram images, we can tap into social media wherever we happen to get a signal for our smartphones. On the other hand, despite this ability to become immersed in a vast virtual world, stepping back into reality can leave us feeling strangely isolated. It is perhaps inevitable some people can get so fixated on staring into a screen they expend less effort on connecting with real human beings.
Convenience leads to superficiality
One aspect of being able to browse through any number of profiles whenever we feel like it is that it can almost become commodified. Rather than seeking a genuine connection, it’s more like we’re choosing items from a menu. The upshot of this is we become flippant when comparing potential partners, the fact there are ‘plenty more where this one came from’ always lurking at the back of our minds.
It can be difficult to make meaningful connections
A lot of individuals are cavalier with the truth when they go online. They’ll embellish all sorts of aspects of their personality because they assume painting a picture will make them more attractive, and there’s no one quality checking the accuracy of their personal details. The more we are subjected to individuals who are less honest than we normally like our acquaintances to be, the less likely we are to be trusting when it comes to meeting new people. The more isolated we can become.
There can be such a thing as too many friends
It’s common for all sorts of social media to be embraced. Facebook is especially popular, allowing us to connect with not only our immediate social circle but also friends of friends, colleagues who share social activities, even people from our past, such as school friends.
There will inevitably be those within our list of friends who we only ever connect with online. But the paradox of having so many people to exchange messages with is the temptation is to connect for long enough to touch base with a couple of lines of text, before moving on. Connections are hardly ever made with the same intensity of a face-to-face encounter. You may well have contacts that easily reach into three-figures – but how many of these people can you really consider friends in the true sense of the word?
Screen addiction is detrimental to social interaction
Walking down any high street it’s common to see people buried in their phones or other smart devices. Psychologists have conducted studies of mobile phone use and discovered when individuals are denied access, the feelings provoked are akin to withdrawal from a drug. The users can become irritable, anxious they might have been denied some ‘vital’ piece of information. While computers do offer many routes into social interaction, including the ability to collaborate when playing online games, this is merely symptomatic of the extent to which people can get hooked on their virtual reality. Shared gaming somehow conjures images of individuals on first-name terms, competing in competitions together, only for the camaraderie to dissolve the moment they press ‘exit’.
Hotdesking cuts you off from office social life
The increased reliance on technology has had a marked effect on working lives, with individuals being given the opportunity to work just as effectively from home or other remote locations. Unfortunately, they are then deprived of the socializing aspect. ‘Watercooler’ moments are spent alone.