Social media dominates on and offline communication. Everyone at some point has heard someone say that technology is ruining our abilities to communicate face to face, but could social media actually be ruining our interpersonal skills?
Recent research would suggest so. A study conducted for online casino Yazino found that one in four people spend more time socializing online, via sites such as Facebook and Twitter, than they do in person.
The study also found that even when there is an opportunity to see people face-to-face, on weekends for example, up to 11% of adults still prefer to stay at home and communicate on their devices instead. The study suggests that this could be due to pure laziness, the cost of going out or just not wanting too much personal contact. They just want the convenience of talking online, versus going out .
According to the TalkTrack research used in Ed Keller and Brad Fay’s The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, our conversations in-person are much more powerful than those online.
“…The decisions we make are based on true interpersonal influence: social influence, which happens most often, and most powerfully, face-to-face,” said Keller and Fay.
Keller-Fay’s TalkTrack research study also suggests that 90% of the influential conversations that we have every day happen offline, while only 8% are online.
A report by USA Today gave four suggestions to help people step away from their technology: (1) Check in on your social media before the party and then put your phone away so it doesn't distract from socializing; (2) Make it into a betting game: try making everyone put their phones away, and the first to give in and use theirs pays for dinner; (3) Post your photos on Instagram or Facebook after the night is over, instead of during the festivities; (4) Make a conscious effort to be present with the people you're spending time with and encourage others to do the same.
The epidemic of "fear of missing out" is real and it could be contributing to our constant need to stay updated with people through our phones. But you can't re-experience events through the billions of pictures you took during it. Most likely you missed the best parts, the face-to-face interactions, trying to make sure you'd remember through pictures.
Lead Image Credit: Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons)