Monday, April 26, 2010

Social interactions: fragments in time or real connections?

I find myself wondering if the true art of social interaction is dead. Is the the art, skill and often times poetry of a meaningful conversation on the social downturn? What ever happened to having an opinion, true emotion or a strong feeling about a topic? How do I take a contrary or even controversial point of view in 140 characters or less?

I say this as I browse through the Tweets or various Facebook status entries of friends, respected industry veterans and other socialites of various walks. And while from time to time I stumble upon (no not the website) an interesting notion or concept but more often than not it is meaningless gobbledygook. Some unintelligible or non-valuable concept or random thought that really has no bearing of resemblance to a connection between two people. And why is this such an acceptable idea? Why do we not care, and just continue to exacerbate the issue?

I wonder if my children will live in a society where everything is fragmented. I look at the concepts of the new normal that face the twenty first century and I wonder out loud at times if the hopes of meaningful discourse are gone. But I have hope, I try to engage them and to draw conversations and thoughts out of them. But is that enough? Am I waging an uphill battle?

So with these hypothetical questions dropped into the ether, or meta, however you choose to refer to that what is the "internet", I have hopes. I have hopes of enterprises and organizations embracing the concepts of Web 3.0, Web 3D, meta, cloud or whatever you would like to call it (these topics are best reserved for future blog posts as I have opinions in what they are and what they mean). Essentially, across all mediums and verticals, I have hopes that large organizations and small will seek to engage us or to deliver mediums within which we can engage each other and indeed find ways to truly connect to other individuals across the globe. I'm not speaking of notions of alternate realities, but of means by which we can embrace the new realities of our daily lives that go beyond the Facebooks, MySpaces, Foursquares and Twitters of the world that connect us on such a superficial level.

While this first blog post was intended to plant a short seed and to allow it to germinate, I leave you with this last notion before I call it a post and ship it off into the ether. Analyze your group of friends for a moment, both those that you call close and those that you call acquaintances. On what level are you indeed connected with them? Are the connections significant and deep? Do you have meaningful conversations with those friends or merely idle chit chat? Do they share enough of your ideals and interests? If you could expand your search criteria to a much larger pool, would your close friends still be close friends? What if you had a much larger sample size to include in your demographic of common interests? Despite the interpersonal and tactile needs of every individual and the associations of proximity, could you have deeper or more meaningful connections and conversations with someone you have never met in person because they live on the other side of the globe? Where your only level of interaction is through the various peer points (such as computers, smart phones, kiosks or other mediums) by which you access the internet? Can you really connect in an intuitive or thought provoking way?
I certainly think so. We'll explore this in more detail soon...

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