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Is social media ruining peoples ability to connect?

I heard a thing on NPR today and I have been thinking a lot about it. I spend way too much time here yet feel very disconnected from others.
Where do you stand about social media?

For many years it was FB and I had fun but then the election and the ugliness came out, now I see some of that same stuff here. In real life, we don't often surround ourselves with people who are different in some ways, yet we have interactions. On this kind of platform we find it easy to tear each other apart or say unkind things that we would never do in the flesh.

I think I am a yes to this question.

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Akfishlady 8 June 4

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Yes and No. Some good, some bad, like most things in life.


My wife and I have been an island in contemporary culture of Texas. The people here are wonderful. I feel like a kid in a candy shop, getting to meet so many like minded people. My wife has her family of 11 siblings, nieces and nephews, but my family of fundamentalist Christians are estranged.

I try to live in the moment and be kind. Because I grew up among fundamentalists, I feared opening up to show myself. The result is poor socialization. I think a others were similarly affected. Here I feel free to be open, and thank everyone for making this a special place.

I am meeting, and believe I'll make friends, with more people here than I have in my entire full body existence. I hope to meat some of you in person. There are many interesting people here.


I'm the opposite. I have great difficulty connecting in meatspace. Online it's much easier and more enjoyable for me. Social anxiety, intelligence, niche interests, personality, values, femaleness, and appearance are factors for me.

I do not understand how people bare their "souls" here but won't talk on the telephone


I am meeting wonderful people that Iwouldn't have met otherwise.Some people I will meet in person from all over the country and maybe world. Its our new social order.


Social media is a tool, and how it affects anybody's ability to relate to real people depends completely on how they use the tool. More and more people pay attention to their phones than they do to each other, even in public spaces that are designed for interaction, like bars for example. Others don't have any trouble with personal interactions IRL and exhibit some discipline over their social media habits. And, for some, social media is the only alternative for meaningful interpersonal interaction. I voted maybe.

I mostly agree with you. We can use or abuse any medium. For most people it offers the ability to communicate and for older folk it is godsend (sorry, for the lack of a better word at the moment.)

What he said.


It's all in how you use it... so many other things.
Social media has put me back in touch with friends and family from many periods of of life ─ going back to childhood ─ including some folks I'd been out of touch with for decades. That pleases me.

I agree - it is how you use it. I was able to find a couple of old friends I had lost touch with and w/o FB, I doubt if I would have found them. I also enjoy chatting with people from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Nigeria, Ireland, Pakistan, Indonesia and other countries. I feel fortunate that social media has made life a bit easier.


I went for maybe. Social media does throw us into a sort of relationship with people we'd probably never have even spoken to in real life, but on the other hand it also allows us to form friendships with people we'd otherwise never even have known existed - you and I being an example of that. Like most things, social media is a double-edged sword.

Jnei Level 8 June 5, 2018

Nope. People tear each other apart regardless of medium.


Social Media (and technology in general) may be making it easier to "connect" with someone, but I also believe that it undermines their language and communications skills (....especially those involving face-to-face).


Dan Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence has a great book on this topic called "Focus." Research shows that it is harming our ability to connect with others, especially in children. They are not learning the social skills through face to face interaction that most of us learned before social media and it is causing problems in the workforce, especially for millenials.


On the contrary, SM have increased and enhanced connections and connecting with people.
i can instantly communicate with friends and acquaintances around the globe. I have been able to connect with friends from the past, some long lost.


I think it has opened a new way to connect with other people.

balou Level 8 June 5, 2018

I'm not sure that question can really be answered with total accuracy. If you really think about the different types of people out there, how some are way too open and giving, and some are just way too private, and some that are just plain devious and after something... it's really hard to tell.

Add the fact that people haven't really been teaching how to treat others and how to present one's self since round about the 80s... well, kinda throws a wrench in the works.

I know I met my current husband of 23 years online through a bulletin board type program so it isn't a total lost. But at the same time people get really hurt, even disappear from being too open online.It's made a lot of people shut down and be more private for safety reasons... good reasons but still, it cuts into any honest connections without being able to meet up at some point as well.

AmyLF Level 7 June 5, 2018

@RaaChenn True. The truth is there are just way too many variables when it comes to meeting people online.


Writing a letter had a formal etiquette that was taught in school, likewise using the telephone had rules and customs that had to be learned.
Even at first e-mail was treated like a form of postal communication akin to a letter.
Then came text-ing and instant messaging and mobile phones that for some reason are longer considered by the younger people as an actual phone but as some form of telepathy that people are supposed to pretend they cannot hear in public.
No one teaches you how to behave in communications anymore, simply how to access it.
There was a short-lived movement for "Netiquette" but it was simply too much bother for the instant gratification crowd.
When being bad mannered on line became the norm, it spilled over in to real life.
People actually now say LOL to each other, or BRB instead of excuse me, even air quotes which were bad enough have given way to just saying "Hash Tag" and worst of all, meeting someone's eye, making eye contact, even when talking directly to someone is utterly Taboo and has even been referred to as a form of assault, or an unwanted advance.
I enjoy the use of social media, but it is not the template for my life, as seems now to increasingly the case, with so many others people.


Social media helps to connect some people more deeply in some ways. Unfortunately for social media addicts, it can take away from personal interaction in the real world. Friends who come for a visit, in real life, yet spend hours on their phone, are a puzzlement to me.


I try really hard to not tear into anyone. Even if it's offensively racist, misogynistic, homophobic etc. I'll try once maybe twice to get through to folks but after that it's flag or ignore. Haven't blocked anyone yet. One other thing is I stopped posting political stuff in the groups. I post it to everyone just to remind myself and others that we don't all think alike.


I doubt it "harms" social connections, it may actually connect people with minority opinions and form new communities. It probably decreases people's desire to frequent local events and modifies ideals of professionalism/formalism.


Interacting with people in the flesh is always better in my opinion. It's real.

I agree about the ugliness surfacing on social media (racism, Islamaphobia, homophobia, transphobia etc...) and I'm dismayed to see it here too.

I wouldn't put "Islamophobia" in there, especially when you consider the fact that Islam has a horrible track record of being homophobic and transphobic, not to mention racist towards Jews.


Not all Muslims are the same.

@Ellatynemouth I know that. I'm referring to the ideology. I don't think highly of Christianity either, but when I criticize it over these things, nobody accuses me of generalizing Christians. So why the double standard with Islam? No religion should be granted special status to not be criticized.


Why don't you protest against the United States doing business with Saudi Arabia?


Do you know what...

Every time anti Muslim rhetoric is aired in public, Muslims in my own country suffer. This is Islamaphobia.

The idiots who live by it cannot distinguish between Muslims in Europe or Muslims in Saudi Arabia. The word 'Muslim' is enough.

So when a nutcase drives a truck into group of worshippers or Christian terrorists plan a bombing campaign of mosques the paper trail leads back to the rhetoric you echo.

@Ellatynemouth 27% of Muslims in your country openly empathize with the Charlie Hebdo shooters. 100% who were polled consider homosexuality to be an immoral lifestyle and 52% want to make it illegal. Pew polls don't lie. Brainwashed niqabis stand in the streets of London holding signs which say "Behead those who insult Islam," "Sharia for the U.K.," and "Prepare for the REAL Holocaust." Lauren Southern was banned from the U.K. for life for writing nothing more than "Allah is gay" on her social media, which is a blasphemy law through and through. Pakistani-Muslim grooming gangs kidnap young girls and sell them into marriage, destroying their lives. And people such as yourself care nothing for these victims because you're too afraid of being called "racist" to confront a real issue (Google "Rotherham incident" ). There's nothing wrong with saying that Islam is doing to Europe exactly what Catholicism did to Europe hundreds of years ago. Wake up before it's too late. And keep in mind that all of this is coming from a Hillary voter.


I hate the religion (like most others). I don't hate all those who follow it. I know two Muslims. They're just normal people, going to work, fed up of traffic, enjoy the weekends etc.

Do you want me to hate all Muslims?

@Ellatynemouth No. But please understand that their religion is not one of peace.


It could be affecting relationships. I think the biggest change in the US is talk radio and biased news outlets. They have divided the country into us and them. They glorify ignorance, I know people who think that science is a liberal conspiracy. Tribalism at it's worst, proof that humans are still, genetically, upper paleolithic hunter gatherers who will follow the big man rather than be independent.


For some it may but for a lot it doesn't. It actually helps them to connect to others whether they meed in person or not.


Meaningful connections? Yes, absolutely!


I don't think this place is somehow insulated from the trash going on. yet most here seem more reasonable than those I run into on a daily basis. and I do have other friends, offline friends, I see regularly, so maybe that helps for me.


Humans are wired to connect face to face. We are ill adapted to connect other ways.

lots of truth in this. we are wired and set up to evaluate people based on things we see or smell or hear. this alters our very thinking and will change dramatically without face to face contact. maybe it will end up being good.


This problem has been around pretty much since the internet really took off, circa 1995. When I first got online in 1996, it was IRC (internet relay chat), which is still around and like the chat rooms and private messages here on There was also AOL, and I think ICQ was around at that time. And news stories came out in those days about people spending too much time on the internet, and how it was interfering with social skills, etc....

I think the big difference now is that people can take it with them wherever they go, thanks to mobile devices. While I haven't personally experienced an instance of my real life interactions being stalled due to it (just brief interruptions), I think I would find it hugely annoying, and wouldn't wait to say something about it. Spending more time with and paying more attention to a mobile device while with other people in the physical world isn't just rude, but seems a psychological problem.

One other difference about all this that I don't think is ever mentioned, there are usually no time parameters associated with internet activities. If you go out in the real world with folks, there is a start and end time. On the internet... not so much. I often pick up conversations where I left off the last time, which in some cases could be days ago or more rarely weeks ago. Of course, with out the aid of chat logs, I don't think I could do this much at all. 😛


Not social media alone but connection to the or electronic devices and not directly to people. It's a very useful tool, social media, but you don't just need one tool....

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