Editorial - Monday, May 19: Are we so ‘connected’?

NOT long ago I ran into someone from school that I hadn't seen in six or seven years. Instead of having a conversation about what we had been up to, the conversation went something this:

Friend: So I see you live in Grafton now. Your house looks really nice.

Me: Yes, that's right. I see you are living at the coast. Your little girl is growing up really quickly, and you have another due soon don't you?

Friend: Yes that's right.

The conversation went back and fourth like that - each of us pointing out all of the things we knew about each other, despite not having spoken for years.

It's of course thanks to social networking which has kept us more connected than ever - or has it? We connect with people we haven't seen in years, people we have only met briefly and people who are far away.

But are we less connected? I knew a friend was having a rough few weeks, so I went to send her a Facebook message, only to discover she had deleted her profile. I sent her a text instead and asked her about the profile. She said she had decided to have a bit of a Facebook detox.

Funnily enough, while I now know less about what is going on in her day to day life - you know the mundane gym visits, what she is having for dinner, what pub she has visited - I actually feel more connected to her because instead of just looking at her Facebook posts and feeling like we are connecting, I have been making the effort to ring or text, so we are actually having proper two-way conversations.

Am I the only one that feels like we might actually be getting worse at personal relationships because we are so "connected" all of the time?

Let me know.

Shannon Newley

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