Together Alone (™)
It's amazing that we have more people on planet earth than ever before, easier access to others than ever before, yet, people feel alone now more than ever before. We allow our phones to direct our attention away from an interaction we're having with another person who is standing right in front of us. It's as if that chime tells us something more important is waiting for our attention. The buzz of an incoming text, the ring accompanying an incoming email, post, reply, or any number of other notifications distracts us from live interaction with other people.
It's like working in an office environment where there are hundreds of people, but they're walled off by cubicles. They all know other people are there, but they're blocked off to focus on their own wants and needs, without regard for others.
One of the reasons I believe teenagers fall into depression and commit suicide is because they feel so alone while, at the same time, being barraged with messages on Social Media. Their virtual connections become more important than their real connections. In her book, The Cyber Effect, Dr. Mary Aiken stresses the still-unknown overall effects of our kids being on the Internet and electronic devices so much of the time. Many of the devices, apps, and programs that are hailed as "educational" and "interactive", yet, they are already demonstrating many unwanted results. As Dr. Aiken points out, we won't know the full effects until it's too late.
Dr. Ali Anani recently wrote two relevant posts titled Random Walk of Thoughts and the Societies of Glass. In the first post, Dr. Anani writes of his visit with friends and all the while with them they were so busy on their mobile devices that they the only interaction they had was about whatever the friends were viewing.
These are just two examples of what I've coined the term "Together Alone™" to describe this global epidemic.
I wonder, Has Social Media become Anti-Social Media? Like anything else, Social Media is a two-edged sword. And, like anything else, how it's used, when it's used, and if it's used should be considerations. For example, there are many I find exhilarating discussions with on different platforms. Then there are those like the two men I read the post from recently. Their caustic remarks and "all-knowingness" repelled me from commenting, as my views were different. I had seen their inability to consider possible options before. One of the men, in particular, tends to go on a tirade when someone disagrees with him. If I were a newcomer to Social Media, it would make me want to avoid it.
I also find it interesting how easily and quickly people are to post negative comments on what we call "Social" Media. I'm open to different views and welcome them to my articles for discussion. What I don't enjoy is when someone offers their opinion and, when I ask for information to support their stand, they get angry or just don't reply. I recently told a person who had a different view from mine that they should write an article about their stand, as I thought it would be interesting to see their line of logic. Nothing. It was easy to make a negative comment, but it was too much work to actually write an article about it. Again, read Dr. Aiken's book and she'll share the cyber-psychology of people like this.
How social Social Media is up to us to choose. We can choose to hide behind the anonymity of our avatar and display destructive thoughts and behaviors, or we can choose to display the thoughts and behaviors of people who desire to see the world become better.
In the end, your personality dictates your personal reality.
About Dr. Edward Lewellen
Dr. Edward Lewellen is an expert in creating methodologies for people to learn to use their mind; their beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, and put them back in control of their lives and become top-producers. He is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.