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Is Social Networking Screwing Up Our Lives?

Is Social Networking Screwing Up Our Lives?

Photo courtesy of Spencer E. Holtaway via Creative Commons

Melissa Noble | YourTango.com

September 16, 2009

If you’re like us, being a few double-clicks away from all our cyberfriends is called “being awake.” (Battery power withstanding.)

Sure, we remember when AOL was just gaining momentum, and we proudly flaunted our newly minted e-mail addresses. We remember rushing home to check the answering machine to see if our crush called and eagerly awaiting this newfangled thing called Instant Messaging. All to the serenading sound of dial-up, of course.

But now we don’t even need to go out of our way to find out what our crush du jour is up to on Friday night. A few weekly pop-ins and we know what they wore to the beach, what they’re reading and what kind of pizza they ate for lunch.

And it’s not like we’re being nosey. No, no. We’re willingly told all these things. In a handy newsfeed headline manner, not too unlike reading about the president’s latest economic plan.

So how could this possibly drive society apart? How could social networking, as Archbishop Vincent Nichols recently said, corrode our “interpersonal communication” to the point where we are unable to live together and build a community? A bit much, no?

In fact, we’re expressing outrage at the mere thought of it right now to all our 400 friends. We’re sure they’ll agree. Some will leave comments and maybe shoot us a message or two, and then write on our wall (if we’re lucky).

Which is precisely the Archbishop’s point—we’ve grown so accustomed to this wordy, webby closeness that the sound of someone’s laugh, or the faces they make when telling stories takes a backseat. Or no seat at all.

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