The evolution of interaction in the online era
There tends to be a fairly negative view of social media in relation to human interaction. People are doing less and less face-to-face communication as time goes by, and many perceive this to be a very bad thing. While this certainly does have negative implications, I would disagree. Since the time of the caveman, human beings have been evolving and advancing by working together and utilizing the tools at our disposal. These two practices have combined for some of the greatest achievements of all time. The invention of writing, Gutenberg’s printing press, globalization, and perhaps most notably, the internet, were all made possible by humanity’s desire to interact with each other and almost limitless ingenuity.
As language, writing and telecommunications all helped us evolve our society and the way we communicate, so too will social media. People are connecting with people on a level that is completely unprecedented thanks to the internet, and the implications are amazing. According to a study conducted by the University of Milan, the average “degree of separation”, or the number of acquaintances separating any two people, is no longer six but 4.74. Five people between you and any person in the world. People cannot only connect, but really connect in a meaningful way online. According to the University of Chicago, up to one third of marriages in North America start online, and those marriages are statistically longer lasting and happier.
I believe social media is the next step in our communication evolution, and it will bring people together on a scale that we could never have even dreamed of before the internet. Like any tool, it has the potential to be used well or poorly, but the beauty of our species is that we utilize any tools at our disposal to the best of our ability, usually with astounding and positive results. Let’s use social media as a tool to interact with our fellow man more often and openly than ever before, and come together worldwide.