The title of the post is a question that has been getting a lot of discussion lately. Questions about the social ramifications of social media have been percolating for the last few years. Studies and speculation about the negative impacts have seemed to get the most attention, especially in the wake of the more recent political scandals involving social media.
The most interesting thing about this discussion is that it is not a new discussion or even recent. This question has been asked before, but in this context: “is online gaming making people less social?” Online gaming used to be the center of this debate, but recently the focus has shifted to social media. Most likely because it’s the new thing and people always talk about the newer trends especially when it comes to the internet.
In a world filled with gamers on a variety of platforms and the old social networks of forums and chat rooms, this question seems to lose its luster. Interacting online is still not the same as interacting in person. That’s why there are Meet-Ups and Tweet-Ups and gaming conventions.
What social media is doing differently than logging into your favorite game, is that it’s reorganizing how we meet people. We are no longer making friends because we play the same game but are meeting people in similar professional fields and have a more economic investment. In game gold is cool, but meeting the person who can help you in your career is a lot better.
Some people will always feel more comfortable behind a computer screen, but those people aren’t becoming less social they are just existing within their comfort zone. So the short answer to this question is no: social media is not making us less social. Online gaming didn’t make us less social. Forums didn’t make us less social. The invention of books didn’t make us less social. We are just learning how to better find the information and people we are looking for and when we find those people we still want to meet them in real life.