TED Conversations

Tiger Flynn

General Manager, Red Stag Management

This conversation is closed.

The Internet: Has it made us more or less social?

I believe that whilst the internet, used well, can open up so many more social possibilities for everyone, I feel that it has made us more insular too.

Maybe not TED users so much, but a lot of people using social networks have ironically made us more tunnel-visioned than ever. When I look at how many of my friends on Facebook use it to reach out for acceptance of almost every facet of their existence I find it a sad state of affairs. Cry-for-help statuses, choosing the best profile picture and so on.

It also makes us more lonely. For example if someone has experienced a terrible break-up and posts increasingly desperate statuses about it, less and less people like it and comment on it making the poster feel even more alone.

The way we reach out is different now and has expanded our horizons in a way not possible even when I as a teenager (I'm 30 now) is incredible in many ways. But the focus on the self and how to best represent it has become for a lot of people their raison d'etre and has made us more insular.

What does everybody else think about this?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: Great Question...

    I guess it depends on how and why you use the internet? Which and how many social platforms you use? What you use them for, and where you are in the "internet up-take/participation cycle" and the devices you use to connect to the net.

    If too much of a good thing is not good for us... and if the internet is "that good thing", then maybe too much of it might not be good for us... While on the one hand it has expanded the opportunity for personal expression and communication; on the other there is the danger of erosion of social interaction in the real-world; in varying shades depending on the individual.

    I think it's al about striking a balance between the time a person spends in the www-world and the real-world - I think that in order to have interesting things to share with the world, you have to spend time in the world, doing things that you find interesting.

    In my world and the way I work at the moment, the balance between how much time I spend online and the amount of time I spend in the world is a two-fold oscillating cycle and in those cycles there is time for me to spend time on my own, and be alone with my thoughts.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.