Naturally, as I have worked my way through the COMM0011 lessons and my own independent research within the past few weeks, several subsets of questions have come up. One of which being ‘What does Social Media mean in terms of connecting with others?’.
This is a big question. It would be my guess that there are many people out there using the various social media tools with every intention of creating quality connections without truly understanding the relationship between the two areas. So what does it really mean to have 800 friends on Facebook or Twitter? Does that mean someone is truly ‘more’ connected?
These questions led me to explore the concept of human connection according to the world of humanities research. A leading research scientist within this field is Dr. Barb Fredrickson, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
According to Dr. Fredrickson, our physiology require real human connection almost as much we need food and water to survive. Through her research, Dr. Fredrickson indicates that in order to experience full ‘temporal and sensory connections’ physical presence is key. Eye contact, touch and voice conversation all play a role in creating moments of a truly connected experience.
Using these references has helped me to understand how it might be very difficult to create quality connections using only tools such as Facebook or Twitter, but I don’t want to rule social media out entirely just yet. Tools like YouTube, Skype and FaceTime may very well serve perfectly to maintain valuable connections over long distances or during busier times when the need to connect with loved ones prevails while on the run.
In the end, limiting our efforts and time to connecting predominantly through social media tools could possibly lead to increased feelings of isolation and disconnection. While using these tools may support our relationships from time to time, nothing replaces the quality of sensational contact through physical presence. It’s helpful to remember this in today’s busy world – don’t forget to take the time to properly and fully connect to people in your life!
Until next time;
‘Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become.’ Dr. Barbara Frederickson Ph.D., Hudson Street Press – Penguin Group, New York, January 2013.