Do Social Media Always Help Connect Us with Others?

new_home_peope_isolatedAs the pace of life quickens, many people have recourse to social media and its technology to stay connected. They reason that social media facilitates their ability to connect over time and distance. However, that same technology has the disadvantage of increasing the volume and pace of messages that continually bombard them making it increasingly difficult to keep up.

At the same time, social media tends to make shallow links since many now come to use this technology to connect at a distance not with a single friend or acquaintance but with huge number of real friends and superficial “friends” all at the same time. Such broadcasting of messages tends to diminish intimacy and nuance from relationships.


Sociologist Sherry Turkle explains how this connectivity can also lead to isolation. She describes the situation of what is being called “postfamilial family,” where much of family intimacy is lost. She notes, “Their members are alone together, each in their own rooms, each on a networked computer or mobile device. We go online because we are busy but end up spending more time with technology and less with each other. We defend connectivity as a way to be close, even as we effectively hide from each other.” Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, New York, Basic Books, 2011, p. 280-281.