Call me old school, but I will always cherish and value connecting with people physically. I doubt if I’ll ever be able to allow social networking erode my need to have a relationship that involves eye contact, personal, one-on-one communication with those that are dear to me. I will always cherish seeing their facial expressions as they react to things I say, as opposed to an emoticon mimmicking the real thing. I will always prefer hearing them laugh to seeing abbreviations like LOL and LWKMD on my screen.
You see, I grew up at a time when the Internet didn’t exist. That was a time when there was no email, chat, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networking tools you can think of today. At that time, even the mobile phone that has helped in spreading and giving social networking a wider reach wasn’t available. That was a period when friendship was really valued (this of course is my personal opinion of that time and period). And that is why I will always keep social networking in its place.
For me, social networking is supposed to help me keep in touch with the people I care about when they are not near me. It should help bridge the distance between people, but not replace the need for real physical interactions. However, the trend that I see today, especially among younger people is that they prefer to social network than actually enjoy the physical presence of a friend.
This fact came home to me recently as I sat having a meal at a popular eatery in Lagos. The table adjacent the one I was sitting had four lady friends hanging out. However, for the period of about 30 minutes of watching them, not one of them spoke one word to another. They all had a Blackberry phone each, and instead of enjoying each other’s presence, they were all busy tapping away at their phones. I had to wonder what the point of their hanging out was.
Do you still physically hangout with your friends? When you do, do you really hang out or are you so taken over by the mobile rave that your being together actually becomes pointless?