article (Thu Oct 25 2012)

Social yet lonely networks

  • #designthinking
  • #cognitivescience
  • #socialnetworks

Although there have been numerous articles and publishing s about the way in which online communities are framing our lives, the Ted Talk by Sherry Turkle did a perfect job at summarizing the major pitfalls of the 'social' phenomena.

It would be an interesting exercise to bring back a person from a previous era, lets say the 19th century into todays world and see how he fits into this world frenzied by information. Although the concept of bringing back a person from the past into today's world has been explored several times in movies, none of them (at least that I know of), have explored it from the perspective of information and networking. Most of these movies only focussed on the brilliance of the technology and make us marvel at the animation and designs of the future.

The true essense of being lies inside the mind of an individual. And social networks of today, are increasingly playing an impoortant role in formulating our mind. In the video, Sherry Turkle stated that people tend to think 'I share, therefore I am' which is so untrue. Infact, its the reverse that is true - 'You are, and that is why you share'.

Information is a by product of existence, not vice versa.

Social media and emerging trends focus on bringing together people virtually, but tend to isolate them even more in the real world. Man was wired to socialize since inception. Social networks dwell on that.

For some it is a weakness, for some, a distraction. For some, it fulfillls an urge to always be 'on the network', whereas for others its a 'way to explore'. Some use it as a 'way to connect', while for many, its 'a way to feel alive'.

To sum up, social networks are useful tools. There is no doubt that they are a powerful means to interact and connect with people. However, their exploitation of a basic human need - the need to be accepted in society - sometimes makes people do things that are unnatural and artificial.

And therefore, instead of 'People changing the world around them'.... its the 'world around people, that changes them'.