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Monday, September 5, 2011

Is social media making us less social?

For millions of years, humans and their descendants have adapted to their environment to thrive. 

But now we're creating our own environment, and developing ways to communicate beyond natural means. 

That of course includes the internet, and more specifically, social media. 

Those born today know how to handle an iPhone by a year old. They expect to press a button and have wonderful things happen. 

The young never knew a time when landlines, handwritten letters and direct talking were the only ways to communicate. 

Now we can select who we talk to in a make-believe world of electronic impressions. We can reveal as much about ourselves as we want to, select who can contact us, and filter out any negative information.

Online dating has become an increasingly accepted form of finding a mate, replacing the old-fashioned 'pick-up'. Those who are succeeding in this new form of  seeking a partner are not necessarily alpha males or females, but the ones who have figured out how to make the best of electronic communication. 

Will nature adapt to our increasing need for information and decreasing attention span? 

Of course, that's impossible for one to know for sure. But I'm envisioning children of the future with limited vocal capacity and thinner fingers (for easier texting). 

OK, that might be a bit far-fetched. 

But what is sure is that if you put four teenagers together at a table today, more often than not they will text their other friends or surf the net. Our ability (older generations included) to hold an actual conversation might be fading. 

Once the baby boomers who never knew computers are gone, this trend may only grow stronger. In two or three generations, it will be even easier to share thoughts without effort. 

Maybe now is a good time to start a conversation about the future of conversation.