Jim Moonan

Owner/Artistic Director, NorthWind Education

This conversation is closed.

Are we over-socialized or under-socialized? Is it possible that we could be both?

Has social media and technology such as email, twitter, digital photography and smart phones Created a false sense of social connection?

I think socialization has in many respects been supplanted by "virtual" socialization.

What are the pros and cons of virtual socialization? Who benefits from it and what are its limitations?

What are the differences between virtual socialization and the traditional form of socialization (two or more people interacting on a personal basis)?

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      Aug 22 2011: "the more friendly people become during debates at a forum such as this one, the more insincere the communications can turn out to be"

      isn't it the case in "real" (as opposed to "virtual") situations too?
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          Aug 22 2011: I am not sure I agree with this line of reasoning. There is a strong phenonmenon called the 'identification bias' where when we meet people we assume that we are more alike than we actually are. As time goes on, there can be a certain rejection of the other when we realize that they are not as much like us as we presupposed.
          On TED there are also subtle cultural issues that get in the way. In one culture to affirm an opinion, a post or a thought is almost a throw away comment while in another it might mean a life long pledge of allegance.
          It is also possible to totally agree with and affirm a person in one discussion and totally be shocked and surprised by their perspective in another.
          Deciding that a person is insincere or that their phrases are empty and judging them based on that is part of the same mentality that leads to alienation and even to wars. I assume that there are better ways of handling disagreements or disappointments.
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          Aug 22 2011: i think you can learn something from your own words. you just said "more clues". the difference is merely quantitative rather than qualitative. there are a lot of hidden messages in posture, facial expressions, tone. but there are lot of hidden messages in wording, choice of topic, even typos. "virtual" communication is indeed handicapped in a lot of ways. but it does not mean it is incapable of relaying such emotional information.

          and the old wisdom goes as: you use what you've got.

          one more thought: "virtual" conversations even have an advantage. exactly because it lacks those very powerful secondary communication channels, "virtual" conversations tend to be more direct and more conscious. and i love directness and consciousness.
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          Aug 22 2011: V said: "There is a face beneath this mask but it's not me. I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it or the bones beneath them."
        • Aug 24 2011: I is a curious thing to only hear the voice you assign to the words a person has. Think of the movie based on a book, it is never the way you imagined and therefore many people say do not watch the movie, the book is much better.

          I need pictures because I am bad at names- besides this forum I can only say I have experienced virtual communication on blackboard for online classes- I always wished there were pictures next to our names there!
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          Aug 22 2011: Oh Birdia. I still stand by the attempt at direct and honest communication.
          War is a phenomenon we can all participate in everyday or we can choose to de-escalate problems. I choose the latter with you time and time again. Peace Birdia leads to longer life and better relationships. Peace.
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          Aug 24 2011: There is absolutely no premise in my statement that mine was 'righter' but it was direct, not public and honest.
          However, anytime anyone chooses to ridicule another poster on this site especially in an ongoing and cynical manner they will likely recieve a similar email from me.
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          Aug 22 2011: that poem made my brane hurt :)

          i don't know if they are conscious, but i know that their message is more conscious, or at least i will treat them as such. a word has to contain some sort of idea, or else it is painfully empty. and be mindful: drugs don't make the brain go away. they just twist its weighs :)
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          Aug 25 2011: Birdia - You are cruel to send a poem like that to someone who speaks english as a second language. ;}

          Krizstian - When your brain begins to hurt from the twisted words of a second language, soak it in the poetry of your first language.... Btw, I am always impressed with your command of the english language. You're fluent, I think.
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    Aug 21 2011: Jim, a great question!

    I work in a College where I am surrounded by students who cyber-socialise all the time. This area is now an important part of my subject area/industry that I have to get involved and I promote it for those purposes.

    Now, don't get me wrong the virtual socialising has its advantages - it is communication after all. But what i have seemed to notice is as this form of communication increases, the traditional form does seem strained, as if we are losing the etiquette of real social connection. The problem with this is that we are now getting to the stage where some are choosing one over the other.

    Is it that we can perhaps get away with more (negative comments,ete etc) or have we just become lazy due to the ease of new technologies ( try asking a student to 'read' an actual textbook!!!). In saying that , there are folk who seem to gain confidence from this cyber socialising that they bring to real situations, and do very well for themselves.
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      Aug 21 2011: I realize I may suffer the wrath of those who swear that every piece of social media is great, but I think so much of it is narcissism. Also so much of it is anonymous. I was at dinner the other night with a friend who said there is now a site called rateyourprofessor.com. It's ridiculous!! I am generalizing I know, but I don't think I'm misrepresenting the current state of social media when I say it is quasi-socialization or faux socialization. Virtual seems to equal "anything goes". I don't like it!!

      I do love the benefits that social media give us. The expanded opportunities to learn and express ourselves, the ability to keep family close, etc. but I think so many people misuse it, abuse it in some cases, and in some cases actually use it to replace the true social activity of community, caring, expanding understanding, etc.
      I am not much of a socializer. Never really got the hang of it. I'm uneasy at large gatherings of strangers and acquaintances like weddings, parties and the like. TED conversations have been a real help to me in so many ways. There is no small talk. So much of social media seems to be exactly that - small talk.

      On a side note, as you said – the social etiquette involved in practicing virtual or cyber socialization leaves a lot to be desired. It’s one of the most maddening things about the technology – so many slavishly attach themselves to every new gadget and every new app.

      John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

      I think he wouldn’t mind my tweaking it a bit: “Life is what happens while you’re busy texting, tweeting and posting.”
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        Aug 25 2011: If I were you, I would make that into a t-shirt before someone else does!
  • Sep 2 2011: Hello! I`am iteresting in the problems of Cyber socialization too. I agree with you. Cyber socialization has pros and cons. I`am writting research under the direction of V. Pleshakov.
    V. Pleshakov is author of theory of Cybersocialization. We are discussing this problems here: http://vapleshakov.livejournal.com/ and here: http://vkontakte.ru/cybersocialization
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      Sep 3 2011: Tatiana - I wish there was more time in this conversation so that I could find out more about your research and perhaps contribute in some way. Feel free to email me using the contact info on my TED profile page.
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    Aug 21 2011: i never understood what makes the "virtual" world virtual. i see why games such as second life virtual, as it has stuff (places, buildings) that are not real. but how email is virtual? why would facebook be virtual? these are just platforms for real people to engage in real interaction. a phone talk is also virtual? old fashioned paper mail is virtual?
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      Aug 21 2011: Yes, it's all virtual. To me.

      Maybe I have a more narrow definition of social interaction. Letter writing is not a "social" activity. It's a form of communication. I don't consider the letter I write to someone to be a social thing - it's a way to communicate thoughts. Same with email. Facebook is a whole different animal. To me, it's a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of voyeurism and a lot of insincerity. I'm generalizing, but still, when people have hundreds and hundreds of friends, many of whom they wouldn't recognize if they bumped into them on the street, that to me is not a social activity. It's a lot of narcissism.

      Really, I'm trying to develop my opinion on this issue - I could change - it's hopefully going to happen within this conversation to an extent.... So is what you and I are doing at this moment (although this moment is min, then another moment is yours) socializing? I think not. We are exchanging ideas. Debating. To me, that's not socialization.
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        Aug 21 2011: depends on your definition of socializing. for me socializing is sharing thoughts with other people, so we don't diverge into our own universes. the internet is a perfect place for that.

        another definition would be a human version of allogrooming. but for long time, humans don't do that physically, but by telling stories, singing and that stuff. this also can be done over the internet.

        yet another definition of socializing would be drinking together. it is a compelling definition, and indeed, it can not be done over a computer network.

        btw what you do is, i think, cherry picking. if i look at any group of people around a table, drinking and talking and laughing, i also see narcissism, insincerity, faked friendship, voyeurism and the like. and if you ask a bigot man what it is like to go to a pub with friends, he might condemn it based on such things.

        so in short, you sound like a tired old man, jim :P
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          Aug 22 2011: Yes, it's a matter of definition.

          You are ok with calling many things socialization, but I think socialization is something that can only occur in real time. Everything else is a version of socialization, but not a substitute for it.

          Not quite sure what you are getting at with the "cherry picking" comment or the bigot comment. Neither one of them sound very friendly.... I think a more accurate description of my comments is that I am generalizing, which I am.
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        Aug 22 2011: no, it is called cherry picking. it is when you filter the input to match your opinion.

        lately, the internet is filled with so called "rage comics". first i hated it. but then i realized that youngsters can better express emotions and social situations. most of the time these comics are not even interesting. creators just broadcast the situation they're in. this is socialization to the max. in fact, it might be even better, as kids often find it hard to express themselves with words. rage comics is easier.
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          Aug 22 2011: Ok, I'm cherry picking. You're cherry picking. This conversation may very well be all about cherry picking which of the cyber- social applications we think are genuinely social vs. Virtually social.

          The fact is, the definition of socialization may very well be diluted as a result of the barrage of social media. It's up for debate.

          Here is the crown jewel of my beef with social media: anyone with a Facebook account with hundreds - maybe thousands - of friends, the overwhelming majority of which they would not recognize or know if they bumped into them on the street. Is that socialization? Yes, but a diluted form of it.

          "Extreme" Information sharing is what we are really doing in most cases on places like FB, Twitter, etc.
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        Aug 22 2011: what makes you think that having 1000 "friends" is anyhow important? if you look at usage patterns, you will see that the interaction is focused to a few "friends" only. and even if not, why would two very deep relationships any better than fifty lighter?

        i once read an interview with the dalai lama. he said that he has no opportunity to have friends, partly because his religion forbids attachments, partly because he travels all the time. so he finds small packages of human relations everywhere. for example talking with a cleaner lady in a hotel. sharing some thoughts, dreams, complaints, etc, then never meet the person again. this is the social interaction he gets. hundreds of "bite size" friendships. is that wrong?
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          Aug 22 2011: "what makes you think that having 1000 "friends" is anyhow important?"

          I don't find it important in the least!!!

          "why would two very deep relationships any better than fifty lighter?"

          I think there is a vast difference between the two. I also think the value of the deep relationships far outweighs the value of the "light" friendships.

          "i once read an interview with the dalai lama. he said that he has no opportunity to have friends, partly because his religion forbids attachments, partly because he travels all the time."

          I would suspect it has everything to do with thefirst reason.

          "he [Dalai Lama] finds small packages of human relations everywhere. for example talking with a cleaner lady in a hotel. sharing some thoughts, dreams, complaints, etc, then never meet the person again. this is the social interaction he gets. hundreds of "bite size" friendships. is that wrong? "

          No, it's wonderful, real socialization!!!!! The Dalai Lama is one of the great examples of human decency in our time.

          I share Birdia's point of view above more than I do yours. I understand where you're coming from and agree on certain points, but I think you are diluting socialization by viewing all forms of cyber/virtual social media as haveing the same social "weight".
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          Aug 22 2011: Are you kidding?!?!? I speak differently every time I open up my mouth. I'm an actor - how do you want me to sound????.

          Just kidding!! Just kidding!!! Seriously, that would be too small a sample to get a good sense of we are.........
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          Aug 25 2011: Shakespeare?!?! Chaplin! Maybe even a touch of Woody Allen (the "stage" Woody Allen)

          You're point is well-taken. The voice is our unique instrument.
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          Aug 26 2011: Two of the great directors/writers since the art form of cinema began are Fellini and Bergman. Keaton was an amazing actor. Every bit as talentedc as Chaplin.

          Who's a better boxer? Keaton or Chaplin? Let us compare:

          http://youtu.be/zskO9O3hF78

          http://youtu.be/9qzradFgPxU
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        Aug 22 2011: jim, i'm starting to figure out that for you, a prerequisite for socializing is the existence of the usual channels of subconscious communication. every kind of face-to-face relation is social, and other kinds are not social. that is a valid definition, but i'd like to challenge its usefulness from two angles:

        1. what is more important in communication? and i mean personal valuation, and not sheer magnitude. what do you consider a more "noble" type of information exchange? conscious exchange of values, views, arguments and principles? or the unconscious and instinctional flow of data between the two limbic systems? which one is more "true" or "real"?

        2. though majority of this "secondary" channels does not work through written communication, some of them do. so basically you condemn written forms of communication because they convey *less* subconscious information. but what is enough? and why?
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          Aug 22 2011: "a prerequisite for socializing is the existence of the usual channels of subconscious communication. every kind of face-to-face relation is social, and other kinds are not social. that is a valid definition"

          Not really! Just because you are face-to-face with someone doesnt mean you are socializaing. Business meetings around a table, for example.

          True socialization to me is not based solely on whether or not there has been an "information exchange".

          Please don't misunderstand me - I think there are many forms of socialization and technology has added to that. It's just that I find the current social networks that I'm familiar with to be "light" socialization (your term). My problem with it is that most people I know who engage in this kind of socialization think of it as being much more, it seems. Again, I'm generalizing. I love the fact that I can stay in touch with my extended family via face book. Skype is a great thing, too.

          "so basically you condemn written forms of communication because they convey *less* subconscious information. but what is enough? and why?"

          First, I certainly don't condemn written forms of communication as not being socialization!!!! Did I say that?! If I did I want to take that back! Written communication is a very powerful form of communication (It's in my top 3 forms of communication - music, cinema and poetry). But when it comes to socializing, I don't think the written word is very powerful.

          I want this conversation to help me and others understand better what we value in socialization and how well our social media help us to truly socialize. I don't think there is any one right answer. I enjoy hearing everyone's take on it. I wonder how much the fact that I am not a big socializer and don't like small tak has to do with my views about what is and is not socialization.
          I am also hoping that this conversation can lead to a discussion about the sense of isolation and if it is ironically growing the more we "connect".
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          Aug 22 2011: Birdia, the Glenn Gould performance is remarkable - trance-like. It's beautiful. It is artistic communication at it's very best. But is it socialization???

          This is what I keep struggling with: I don't think what I watched and heard Glenn Gould communicating has much to do with socialization except for the fact that there was an audience there who might have had dinner together before or after the show and perhaps got "very social" after the performance ended somewhere more comfortable and conducive to "socializing". I don't know....

          Is there such a thing as a time and a place for socializing?
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          Aug 22 2011: Birdia, In my mind what musicians are doing together is creating - not socializing. I guess I just see socializing as a much more specific thing than most people.

          Krizstian, I hope I'm not giving you the impression that I think any less of someone who disagrees with my point of view. In this case (this discussion) I am really trying to learn better what the beneifts and drawbacks are to cyber-socialization. I am expressing my current view in hopes of getting some differing perspectives, which you have given me.
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          Aug 23 2011: As a musician I want to let you know, Jim, that it is impossible to create music alongside someone else without learning to gauge them by the things that are most organic and least virtual about socialization;

          Body language, tone of voice, attitude in general... everything that is read between the lines of mere vocabulary. All the ways in which someone expresses themselves apart from their choice of words. All those things that are incommunicable via keyboard.

          Up to this point in the conversation I thought that two people creating music together embodied exactly the characteristics of "non-virtual" socialization that you seem to value. I think Birdia's idea lends a lot of credit to the reasons you have for guarding yourself from cyber-socialization. No one wants to miss out on those organic interactions!
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        Aug 22 2011: ah, birdia, that link was quite a treat.
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        Aug 22 2011: jim: "I speak differently every time I open up my mouth. I'm an actor"

        gotcha! you call it socialization when people can see you acting!

        (kidding)
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        Aug 22 2011: "I hope I'm not giving you the impression that I think any less of someone who disagrees with my point of view"

        no, not at all. but i decided that i can't take your words about the social media seriously until you make at least one rage comic. and the same goes for me, of course. i don't take myself seriously either, till i face that trial!
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          Aug 25 2011: I checked out rage comics. I like them!! They are clever, irreverent and funny!!! I love things like that. Have you heard of the production company "Funny or Die"? It may be on youtube. It's in the same vein as rage comics.

          But I'm still feeling a little lost as to how they are a form of socialization vs. a form of communication and artist expression, both of which I don't see as having much to do with what I call socialization.
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          Aug 25 2011: I understand what you are saying... but I'm still conflicted about it.

          I have argued that there is an outcome to face-to-face socialization that makes it a deeper, fundamentally more effective form of socialization than the others I keep referring to as virtual/cyber socialization. I still think that is more or less true. But I have more of an understanding today than I did 5 days ago because of the perspectives of people like you, Krisztain, Birdia, Debra, Mathieu and the rest.

          In this discussion it has been argued that the interaction between musicians during a concert, recording session, jam, etc. is a form of socialization. I don't know.... Perhaps in a secondary way. I know musicians who play with others while they are off in a world of their own, almost in a trance. If there is a social aspect to the process of creating music (and I now can see that there is) it is essentially a by-product of the creative process.

          I think Mathieu is most persuasive: "as a musician I want to let you know, Jim, that it is impossible to create music alongside someone else without learning to gauge them by the things that are most organic and least virtual about socialization"

          I really can't argue with that!

          But doesn't face-to-face socialization have characteristics that other forms lack? It is these things: eye contact, tone of voice, body language, the surrounding milieu, the visual ques, the sensual (having to do with the senses) aspects that make me think that face-to-face is by far and away the most powerful form of socialization.

          But yes, given the advances in technology, we now have many other forms of socialization that have an impact on society. All good.


          Letter writing, talking on the telephone, facebook, sending videos, texting - they are forms of socialization
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      Aug 22 2011: I like Krisztian's point above. What makes this relationship that I have with all of you 'virtual'? I feel as though it is real. I know that some of my opinions have ticked some of you off as though we were discussing things in real time and in real life. I know that I have come to truly respect and admire many here regardless of whether we are always on the same side of the issues. For example, I look forward to Krisztian's every post because I am convinced that he sees the world very differently than I do but with a great heart toward a better world. What does he know that I do not? How does he put the evidence together in a way that constructs it quite differently than I do? I am fascinated by the idea that two people of good will can see economic systems do diametrically opposite. In the end, I truly value him as I do many others for their good will and logic. These are not virtual feelings.

      I think that a venue like TED is amazingly real for engendering greater understanding. I may not get to shake your hand or give you a hug but I sure hold many of you in my heart in a very real way.
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        Aug 22 2011: Yes, it's real, no doubt about it!!! But is it socializing?? And if you think it is, do you see it as being more or less a form of socialization than face-to-face in real time socialization. That's my question.

        TED is a great venue for sharing ideas, debate, etc. but I don't think there is much socialization involved - and am glad of that (although I would love to meet many of the people I exchange ideas with. But until I do, we haven't really socialized... I think :}
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        Aug 24 2011: Debra: " I look forward to Krisztian's every post because I am convinced that he sees the world very differently than I do"

        There is another TED conversation going on where someone told the following story that I think has it's roots in Native American oral tradition. Here it is:

        "There was a man who had four sons whom he wanted to teach not to judge things too quickly.

        He sent each of them on a mission to go and look at a pear tree that was far away.

        The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in the summer and the youngest in the fall or autumn.

        When they had all gone and arrived, he called them together to describe to him what they saw.

        The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.

        The second son said that the tree was covered by green buds and was full of promise.

        The third son disagreed and said the tree was full of sweet smelling blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful.

        The last son said that he saw the tree full of ripe fruit ready to be picked and full of life and fulfillment.

        The father explained to them that all of them were right because each of them saw the tree in only one and different season of life.

        He told them that you couldn’t judge a tree by only one season of life. The essence of what it is can only be measured at the end after completing all the seasons."

        Debra, that story explains why you hold other's opinions and perspectives in high regard. I found this video of the same story. I really love it:

        The Pear Tree
        http://youtu.be/0hfj67wf7HE
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          Aug 24 2011: More evidence that you are an exceptional teacher, Jim!

          I think that what we do is socializing even if it is different than what is done in real life. In some ways I think it is deeper and more sincere and based on more solid things (if the person is not choosing to represent themself as other than they think or believe.) Here we talk about the issues that are near and dear to our hearts with courage. If I had met you in a bar or at the library, extraneous issues would cloud our conversation. You would look at me and think that you know a lot about me- my sex, my attractiveness or lack of it, my socio-economic status (at least as represented), perhaps my level of education as I represented it and I would more or less subconsciously be informed by your physical being as well. Here we have almost none of that. We are curious to know what the other thinks and feels.
          I love having a chance to socialize in both ways- it enriches me.
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    Aug 25 2011: I am from what's now being called the "Me" generation. The intent behind product innovation/marketing always seems to be personalization, which is an exasperating patronization to me. Stop telling me what I want. You denigrate my authenticity.

    I was the last of my friends to own a cellphone, and the last to use facebook by about a year. However, I have grown to embrace that I live in a time where forums like TED facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst laymen. Affirming otherwise would make a hypocrite of me.

    This expressed, I admit that nothing makes me cringe more than witnessing a group of young adults sitting together, texting other people or even each other from across the table. One of my own friends has developed the Blackberry phenotype. He will continuously text absent people when I am right across the table. When this happens I feel an inexorable urge to grab him by the collar, slap him and exclaim; "You are really here! This is really happening!" Sadly I've grown apart from this friend, given that he has lost the ability to communicate the contents of his imagination.

    My experience is that people my age have a terrible time expressing themselves via vocabulary. The use of grammar is defaced beyond recognition, likely due to neglect in the faction of reading/writing.

    People are increasingly impatient. Why read a book if I can watch a movie? Why walk when I can drive? Why cook when I can order? Why take the time to say something when I can text? There is a severe under-appreciation for the low-strata quality. The convention is; "If my senses aren't saturated, then it's a second-rate experience."

    How then can a human relish in his/her genuine existence?

    Should I hold-fast in the face of these ambiguous cultural winds? Will I be left behind? Are my love of fine lecture, crafted beer and genuine self-reflection doomed to be conquered by this machine of exponential growth, intense sensations and augmented reality?
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    Aug 25 2011: Great topic to reflect upon!

    The virtual means give us virtual access to almost everyone, but it is almost like to have no access to anyone!

    So, if you are in a party and see 1000 of people, it is only if you talk, for ex, with up to 5 guys (and don´t talk to 995) that you have the feeling of having participated of it... These 995 remnant people were as accessible as the 5 ones that you could talk with...

    The virtual world is increasingly intermediating social relations, but, by doing this, it reproduces the real world ad nauseam, what could lead to a conclusion about the fact that this reprodution is a nonsense in some cases...

    One of the great pros of virtual means is to allow a more faster process of checking ideas, finding people with related interests all over the world... This is amazing...

    Best regards!
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    Aug 25 2011: @Jim Moonan

    "But I'm still feeling a little lost as to how they are a form of socialization vs. a form of communication and artist expression, both of which I don't see as having much to do with what I call socialization."

    and i still can't answer that, because for me, socialization means a form of information exchange. theoretically, individuals expose some of their internal state on the outside. they express emotions with movements, words, they express their situation in words, they tell their thoughts and doubts with words. you can classify it all day long, but at the end, it is just "sharing of internal state" just because we want, without a conscious goal. (unlike asking someone what is the time.) basically that goal makes it socialization and not querying or informing.

    you seem to use a narrower definition, but i'm not sure what goes in and what doesn't.
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    Aug 24 2011: I believe It is easier than it seems to answer but it is harder to generalize. Lets say you are a handicapped person living in a third world country. There are no infrastructural accessibility or well organized institutions to help you interact with other people. There you may have a chance to socialize via technology on your own. So technology helps you to overcome some conditional difficulties in some specific cases. But for the rest socializing digitally may be heavily dangerous especially for the ones who are incapable of evaluating their other options.Because it is easy and most people are lazy. Laziness brings unhealthiness and so.
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    Aug 23 2011: I think that socializing is a personal experience. Some people are shy and some people are outgoing. It is logical that shy people will have a different standard for socialization than outgoing people will. The internet is splitting these two groups into four;

    real-shy / virtually-shy
    real-shy / virtually-outgoing
    real-outgoing/virtually-shy
    really-outgoing / virtually-outgoing

    I know enough people that I could categorize in each of these groups and you might too. All of these people will use resources differently and develop different definitions for socializing. It's natural diversity.

    An interesting point is that if I met someone in person I would probably be able to categorize them sooner or later. However, if I only interacted with them "virtually", I would be missing a lot of data as far as the "real" side of things goes; having never witnessed the way they carry themselves, their tone of voice, the way they dress... There is no question that you get a lot more out of being with people physically.

    Furthermore I don't think that it can be said that virtual versus real communication is good or bad. Virtual communication is but a phenotype of the culture of this age. Some will take advantage and some won't. It's natural selection.

    I conclude that we are not over or under socialized, but the means for socialization has been expanding in the last few decades because of the idea of globalization and the advent of networking. The world is changing.

    I think it's all a result of human nature... like the stock market, or toothpaste, or recycling! My words to you Jim; Just go with it!
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      Aug 23 2011: I think that technology is having an increasing influence over all aspects of our lives. Not so sure I want to "just go with it" in respect to what is and is not social interaction!

      Because I've gotten a lot of push-back in this conversation about my views on what is and is not "socialization" I went back to the dictionary last night. Here is what I found:

      "The process By which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs and accumulated knowledge of society."

      I stand corrected. I had actually formulated my own definition for socialization - but that doesn't make my definition valid!! I/we can't just re-define something to suit my/our own paradigms. Social media such as
      twitter, Facebook, etc. Is obviously a valid way of remaining socialized in modern societies. I have said earlier in this conversation that TED is not a social experience for me - but thinking again, I now know that it is. One of the most satisfying aspects of engaging in conversations here is to meet others from around the world who are thinking about the same things as me.

      Art forms like music also have a social aspect to them that I did not really appreciate until now.

      What I suppose concerns me about some social media is that it is superficial- but that happens in real life too. I can't just dismiss it as being "beneath" me simply because I find it boring, etc. It is what it is.
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      Aug 23 2011: Btw Mathieu - I don't think your group analysis as it applies to cyber-socialization tells us much. There are so many other influencing factors.
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        Aug 25 2011: Agreed. However my intent was not to inform but to socialize...
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          Aug 25 2011: OK!! Now I'm feeling socially awkward....

          I really liked your explanation of how a musician needs to socialize with other musician in order to create music. I had overlooked that. Thanks
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          Aug 25 2011: nice trap you had there, bro
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    Aug 22 2011: i would think us becoming less socialized becuase i see facebook, or an email, or a text or even a phone call has a form of barriers keeping us from the all important face to face conversation. (assuming the person you are communicating to is within distance of doing this) but with that point, we can now socialize all the time regardless of distance. so its a trade? its become a norm now to put up walls (figurativly) between us and situations we would not like to be in, so i can see technology filling that need.
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    Aug 22 2011: Virtual socialization as you have mentioned above may be considered as a trend nowadays.

    Take an example: Today, I saw a birthday notification of a good friend of mine since high school. Then I decided to go to her Facebook and left a "Happy Birthday" note at her Wall. The feeling of virtual socialization with her seems a little bit awkward, since we knew each other really well and we often met in real life. But, I think it's still not a crime to send her a birthday greeting through Facebook anyway. But since we have engaged in this virtual social media thing, I feel like it is an "indescribable" obligation too to send her a birthday greeting on Facebook (though I know that tomorrow I am going to meet up with her anyway). That way I could keep up my relationship with her through both virtual and real world.

    The term socialization today is really different from what it was back then. Now with most of people actually interacted with each other through Facebook, some of them might think that it is also important to maintain a good relationship through the virtual social media thing.

    Hope that sparks some thoughts on your topic. Cheers!

    Jessica
  • Aug 21 2011: Social media has certainly skewed languages. Having so many "friends" on Facebook does not mean one really has so many friends.

    If 80% of communication is delivered via non-verbal communication, I would say that we have lost more socialization than gained.
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      Aug 21 2011: Yes, this is what I'm getting at.

      If socialization by traditional definition is the interaction of 2 or more people on a personal basis, then today's technological social media is not really socializing. It's virtual socialization.

      Are we socializing right now? I really dont think so. Hypothetically if this was the extent of my socialization activity for the rest of my life I wouldn't have to leave this chair, see anyone face to face, experience all that goes with traditional socialization. This is a variation of socialization - I think virtual socialization - and we are quickly becoming over-socialized in that regard.

      On the contrary. traditional socialization has become something of an underwhelming experience for some, especially the young. They tend to meet socially at a very superficial level and then take pictures of each other to post on the "social" networks; they are with each other, but many times only in a distracted kind of way. They instead text, talk on the phone, as if that "completes" the act of socializing (which maybe it does).

      It's very frustrating to me. I too, am "connected" in all the usual ways, but feel a growing sense of disconnect - am I just getting old?!?

      What worries me is that as a society we (USA) are so wrapped up in the immediacy the present - much more so than even 10 years ago - that we are falling behind as the rest of the world walks ahead into a globalized society. We'll get there, but a little too late to say we helped shape it

      It's frustrating.
      • Aug 21 2011: To a very limited extend I believe we are socializing. (If a bit drawn out)

        Obviously there are times when virtual socialization can be beneficial. You live on the other side of the country from me and yet we can still attempt to share basic ideas in a cost effective manner.

        However, I see virtual socialization, when it does not facilitate a quick functional need, as a type of escapism. It may be rewarding on some level but does not provide the full social experience. This can be frustrating when one wants the full experience and others do not.
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    Aug 20 2011: It's difficult to generalize in either way

    When there is the ample scope of one to one interaction in such situation if one only / mostly depends on all those gazzetes you mentioned or social media then that I would see at what you called under socialized. But sametime if the same person doing or using same thing to connect with someone with whom s/he has no or limited scope of real life interaction (as happening right now here in TED) , than that's the right socialization...

    Pondering what you want to call as over-socialized?
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      Aug 20 2011: How's about being authentic ?
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        Aug 21 2011: hmm that's better. But didn't that question also existed before virtual socialization came in? In our real socialization how authentic we are ? Though real interaction has more power of putting pressure to be authentic to some extent than virtual interaction I feel. As in real interaction our body languages are also exposed.
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          Aug 21 2011: Yes I feel that way, too, Salim. I almost always learn from your thoughtful comments. You strike me as a peaceful man.

          I think the modern world is tangled up in technological, virtual socialization. We are over-socialized in that regard. On the other hand, I think we have lost some of our innate ability to truly socialize; to form loving, caring communities, to love deeply one person and grow together with them, to care for those in our own society who need it, etc. etc. etc. It's as if we are evolving as a species to not have those abilities.
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          Aug 22 2011: Salim..........Yep, body language reveals a lot !!!!!
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        Aug 25 2011: Hi Jim your obliged with your kind words really.
        Helen's point of authenticity is a very good point both in real and virtual world. In virtual world this authenticity is more challenging even.
        If someone is interacting in disguise in virtual or real world , I feel it's difficult to call it socialization at all. In virtual world it is more common than the real interactions.

        As usual Birdia , came up with points which are pivotal in our social interaction. All those non-verbal clues mostly absent in virtual socialization (sense of sound can be achieved though).