I totally believe this study is true. I'm meeting more and more people who "don't do Facebook." And personally, I've been very disillusioned with it for quite some time now. Facebook was supposed to bring us closer, but in fact, it does the opposite. Once someone becomes a Facebook friend, I know I won't be getting anymore emails from them, and the daily chats on the phone will drop down to a couple times a week. No one bothers to check in and see how I'm doing anymore because they feel like they already know everything about my life because it's on Facebook - Wrong. You can't share your innermost feelings on the World Wide Web, or at least I can't. So we tend to put an inappropriate amount of emotion into political rants, raves or pet peeves so we can feel like we're expressing ourselves - but we're not. It's pseudo intimacy, and that can only sustain us for so long.
Real connections are made in the real world. Think of your fondest memories....are any of them of sitting in front of your computer? Or walking in a zombie state while frantically typing on your phone? Of course not. My best memories are sitting in a chair on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves crashing and the seagulls overhead, and reaching over to hold my partner's hand. Or driving down the road and singing our favorite song together. THESE are the things that bring us closer. Are you still doing these things as much as you used to?
I love silly cat videos as much as the next guy, and the chances are good that I'll post one myself in the very near future, but how much is this interfering with living our lives in the real world? Chances are.....a lot. But why? In part, I think it's because it's risky to interact with people in person. Risky to our feelings that is. It hurts to be misunderstood, to have our hearts broken or to hear unexpected criticism. If people hurt our feelings on Facebook, we can just "unfriend" them and never have to hear from them again. But we also miss out on all the incredibly positive emotions too don't we? I think we've forgotten how to handle disappointment in our society, so we've chosen something that numbs us from that hurt while still providing us with a taste of that connection.....social media.
I called a friend of mine last year whom I haven't talked to in a while. He said "is everything alright?" When I said yes, his reply was "so why are you calling me? No one uses the phone anymore except old ladies." It really hurt my feelings, because I was calling because I wanted to hear his voice, rather than see his impersonal status updates or text messages. I haven't called him since. Is this what we've become? Just letters and images on a screen? Am I now a freak because I like to hear the emotion in a friend's voice when I'm speaking with them?
No one on their death bed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time on Facebook."