Many people are involved in an abundant number of relationships through technology, but sometimes the quantity of these associations leaves people feeling qualitatively empty.
Obviously, technology has had a profound impact on what it means to be social.
Keep in mind that these are only a few of the technologies that may affect you socially. A study of students and information technology found that 85 percent of undergraduates surveyed used social networking sites (Salaway et al., 2008) (see figure 8.2).
Although the participants did use e-mail to stay in touch with family and friends, almost all of the study participants talked about how vapid chat rooms and discussion boards seemed to be.
Most had tried chatting a few times and then gave up because they viewed it as a waste of time (similar reasons were given by undergraduates in the ECAR study who did not use social networking sites).
People have been fired from their jobs or put under pressure because they use these sites at work or because something is posted on a site that undermined the person’s professional standing.
Although divorce and loss of employment are serious issues, perhaps they are not as common as other problems that have the potential to stem from social networking sites.
It is amazing how someone can find a long-lost friend through a social networking site, enabling them to reconnect.
In a society where people have become quite mobile and family and friends are often geographically separated, it is convenient to keep in touch through technology.
SECOND LIFE With one of the largest virtual worlds on the internet, the Second Life universe has something to suit your tastes, no matter how depraved or obscure.
Second Life's vibrant community has created an incredible space full of sex playgrounds and adult roleplaying areas.
I often wonder whether people use these sites to display their popularity to the world rather than use them as a vehicle to develop meaningful relationships.
Creating meaningful relationships is often about sharing our lives with others, and technology can allow us to do so through photos, videos, text, and music.
Society is likely on the cusp of a social revolution, during which it will be important to redefine socially appropriate and acceptable behaviors (with regard to digital or virtual interaction).