How popular we are can still be measured by how many friends we have, but on-line, rather than on the weekend. And today, everyone can see EXACTLY how many friends each other has. We can even UN friend people . . . and don't even get me started on 'poking' each other. I'm not really sure I want to start pulling at the thread of THAT analogy.
My point is, the reason these things work so well, is that they are intrinsically linked to the basic emotional needs we have as humans. Some of which include;
- the need to feel connected to others
- the need to be part of a wider community
- the need to give and receive attention
- the need for status
- the need for control (block/un-friend/hide from time-line/permission to tag)
- the need for meaning, purpose & goals (Uhuh! Some peole get meaning from their interactions. Going on-line to check what's in that newsfeed can give a person purpose.
- the need for intimacy
YES, intimacy. Some might think, what's intimate about facebook? Its the opposite of intimate. But that doesnt mean that it allows some people to feel intimately connected to others. Intimacy includes having a relationship or friendship with someone to whom you can tell anything. Little things, big things, private things. Whatever. Just things you want to share in order to gain support from friends without fear of judgment. How often do people put on their status how they feel about something that has happened? Seeking support, seeking to feel heard, understood? Its the feeling of intimacy that gets so many people into trouble. The lack of face time with people, lowers inhibitions somewhat so they can become TOO relaxed, share TOO much information that falls into the wrong news feed. LIke that of a boss who sees a photo of you at a BBQ on the day you were supposed to be sick. Oops!
There are some who have blamed the social downfall of society on Facebook and similar social media outlets. But it isn't called Social for nothing. In a world where we're busy, on the run and forced to live more isolated and work-filled lives than we'd otherwise choose, social media fills a gap. Like it or not. Whatever way you look at it, people are having their emotional needs met through social media. People who might not otherwise have the opportunity, if it didn't exist.
Sure, it's great that emotional needs can be met through modern technology. But remember, facebook likes, status updates, sharing stories, photos and pokes are no substitute for the real thing (especially the pokes!) Hey! Minds out of the gutter. I MEANT, that as humans we require physical touch as much as conversation. A pat on the back, a squeeze of the hand or a . . . well . . . poke now and then, is a normal part of human interaction and no amount of thumbs up can take their place!
Try to keep a balanced life that includes real friends who share coffee as well as facebook friends who share their status updates and holiday pics.