Does Technology Build Social Barriers or Unity?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I feel alone in a group of people. Some of the reasons for this include mental illness, Aspergers, normal fears, and people being unkind or focused on themselves.

There is another very prevalent reason that the video below introduces as a problem for barrier with others: technology.

Watching this video gave me mixed feelings. Yes, social media and technology can prevent us from living a full life and connecting with others. Memories of my childhood laughing with my siblings or running through the woods fill my head. Computers, phones, internet – none of these played an important role. Because of this, I was more free and innocent. Nothing tied me down or drained my time except for imagination and exploration.

Even looking back at that portrait I painted for you leaves me feeling mixed. It is partially true but not completely accurate. I was still miserably lonely back then. In groups, no one seemed to notice me still. Those other kids did not have I-Phones or even walkmans to ignore others. They simply forgot about me, or I was unable to communicate normally with them. Without lots of technology, the world was still a sad and painful place.

Social media has both helped me and hurt me friendship-wise. Facebook is a great example of this. I started out not understanding what was socially acceptable. Lonely and sad, I posted on my friends’ walls and sent them things all of the time. Finally, someone swore at me and others insulted me to get the message across that I needed to stop. My mother taught me manners for acting neurotypical in public, but Facebook taught me how to interact with my peers.

Since then, I have been more cautious with social media. Still, the effects of it have brought positive and negative changes in my social life. Do I maybe spend more time on it than I should? Would it be better to really meet with someone or play with my little brother? Certainly. Yet this blog is a great example of the great side of technology. Now I am writing and connecting with people all over the globe. This experience has brought me so much joy and friendship.

So does technology build social barriers or unity? There is not a clear answer to that. It seems to do both, depending on the person. Social media, in particular, can either bring more or less true friendship. Because of this video, I am going to consider my use of technology more carefully. However, I will not totally reject it as something negative.


9 thoughts on “Does Technology Build Social Barriers or Unity?

  1. mihrank says:

    LOL – Interesting and fun!

  2. Marie says:

    You know, I still get mixed messages about social media from professionals. When I reference professional I mean MD, Psych, Therapist. One will tell me – oh you should use it to help you socialize. Talk to friends, seek out an online support group, etc. Then others will say, restrict your time on electronics and computers, get out and meet real people etc. I have social anxiety – some are telling me to face it and just get out (incredibly hard and basically impossible at this point), and others are telling me to find another form of communication to socialize (good but also inhibits real face to face interaction, and perhaps increases my want to not go out). Hmmm what to do, what to do!

    Good post!

    • That must be confusing! It is hard to know when social media is helpful and when it is a hindrance to recovery.

    • Nick Sif says:

      It sounds like a bit of a false dichoctomy to me. There’s no reason why it has to be one, or the other. You could use social media as a tool to help you along with your social anxiety. For example, you can meet people online, filter out the ones you aren’t particularly interested in, and then meet those you do sort of connect with for a coffee, for example. Poco a poco, little by little, until your confidence increases.

      If you’re using the internet as an excuse to hide from people, there’s probably potential for improvement there. If you’re using it – as I do – as a tool to help you in the real world, then really, the devil with those professionals and their infernal judgementalism (!)

  3. Insight says:

    I can’t completely agree with what has shown in the video! Do you think that everyone who uses internet are like the ones shown in the video? It’s not regarding the usage of virtual world, though it’s about how you uses it. Of course, the message that we get from it is a relevant one. But the depth of content does matter when it comes to the whole communities.

    – Rahul

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