By Aimee Drew
Do you have a Facebook? No? Wow, you must live under a rock. This is the general response upon discovering that a classmate or friend has not entered the virtual social world.
Yes, I admit that I spend my fair share of time on Facebook, postponing an essay, uploading new pictures, stalking people I don’t know and never will, but has it become an excuse for staying inside, glued to our computer screens? An excuse to stop going out and making new, real-life connections because we can simply learn everything we need to know about someone from the combination of their wall, their information, and their photos?
Our generation is all about the “now,” the instant gratification. We no longer save up to buy a new CD; we download it online. We no longer take the time to call a friend to chat; we shoot ‘em a quick text. We no longer make plans to get to know someone; we find him on Facebook.
I love Facebook. I think it’s a great tool for staying in contact with old friends or distant family members, and it’s handy for sharing interesting links and videos, but all that wonderful convenience comes at a price: we are losing our social skills, our ability to interact on a personal level as opposed to through a computer screen.
To me, the superficiality of Facebook is obvious. What began as an opportunity to connect the whole world has developed into a machine where we can see virtually everything about a person’s life, interests, friends, thoughts and make judgments on them, without even knowing this person in the flesh and blood.
After observing my peers and my own life, I have found that this generation struggles to connect with others, especially when it comes to meeting new people.
Perhaps I am only judging from my own personal experience, but there seems to be an awkwardness among young people, young strangers, who are at a loss when face-to-face with someone they don’t know or are merely acquainted with, as if there is nothing to talk about and no technology to hide behind.
The ability to relate to people on a personal level and the capacity to make connections between real life activities, ideas, issues, and identities is what makes a well-rounded person. Older generations get the best of both worlds: they grew up without technology being shoved down their throats and are now entering the ever-expanding world of Facebook. Our generation and the ones after us, however, may have the technological skills to advance, but we still have the people skills to carry our world forward?