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Tiger Flynn

General Manager, Red Stag Management

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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?

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  • Nov 7 2013: My roommate met his current girlfriend on the internet. I spoke with her briefly online, was charmed and understood why he felt he had to meet her in person. When we all met face to face there was a component of our interactions that was completely missing with her. Her facial expressions gave absolutely no clue or window into her mood or thoughts. I was thrown off and left the two in peace; thinking that I may have been intruding. Afterwards, I was informed that she quite enjoyed speaking with me and wished I would have spent more time with them.

    Sadly, proficiency in online interactions does not translate into that same facility with personal ones. I always wonder when I meet people now, what in fact is going on in their heads. Without emoticons to convey their feelings, often they stare at you blankly and you walk away thinking yourself a nuisance. In the same way that a poorly worded text message drives a wedge between two people who would otherwise get along well, so too does this lazy presentation of yourself to the world around you.

    I believe this stems from a reliance on words to convey too much. In short...we talk too much. :)

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