For the most part, people love technology. We love how easy it is to share ideas and thoughts or to share pictures and videos, basically, we love how easy it is to connect. Connectivity has become an everyday ritual for most people; from the time we wake up to the time our heads hit the pillow. We have this belief that technology allows us to not only keep in touch with friends and family but also allows us to form new bonds and friendships. This is a great thing to be able to do, is it not?
Perhaps it isn’t as great as we would like to believe.
By being able to connect digitally to others, we are bypassing a vital social experience; the face-to-face. Not only is this a critical aspect of any relationship, new or old, it also allows for a more realistic understanding of our lives. Typically when we share online, we are presenting only the positive things that happen to us while at the same time minimizing, or ignoring, the negatives.
I am willing to admit that when I share online, I tend to post the positive. My reasons are simple: 1.) I don’t think anyone else really wants to hear me being negative, and 2.) sharing something positive makes me feel… well… great! Having said that, however, I am a big fan of face-to-face communication; I find it more fulfilling.
I love making new friends, I love meeting them, getting to know them, and talking with them on a daily basis. While I wish I could do this with every one of my 250+ online friends and family, it’s just not feasible for one reason or another. So I tend to focus on those that are local, those that I can go and physically hang out with. I am sure the same could be said for most of you out there.
Then why do we persist in making digital friends?
With work and other responsibilities, time could be a key factor. More importantly, we have social needs that must be filled, and so the question goes from why to why not? So we make friends when and where ever we can. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Unfortunately, there is something wrong.
While we strive to form digital friendships, we continually feel alone; defeating the very reason we do this. The more we share, the more we build our digital “friendships”, the worse it gets. But why? What is really going on? It all comes down to how we build these bonds. When we focus on quantity instead of quality, we sacrifice relationships that actually feed our emotional needs for empty hollow shells that only delude us into thinking those needs are being met.
What can we do to change this?
I’m not suggesting that we completely unplug from our digital world, only that we make an effort to nurture our friendships in order to achieve the quality we desire. I am suggesting that we stop and consider what really defines the word friend. In the end, friendships should not be about feeling alone, but rather be about feeling alive and connected!