The Missing Puzzle In Your Life
Paul S. Cho
Technology is everywhere. We live in the 21st century, where everything is electronic. It is almost inevitable for us to not go through any Internet network of some sort throughout our daily lives. At the same time, we live in a huge spectrum of connections and relationships with others. And this is where social network sites come in handy – or not.
My roommates wake up in the morning, and the first thing they do is not making their beds, not washing their teeth, not opening the windows, not making breakfast, and not taking a shower. The very first thing that my roommates do is checking their phones. Now, is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. However, it gets pretty problematic once checking your phone and twit-twitting sports scores and celebrity gossips become your everyday life.
And the thing is, this is actually a problem in a lot of people’s lives. They may not realize – you may not realize it, but online social networking is slowly consuming our lives.
First and foremost, online social networking sites are a way of displaying yourself to the public. In many ways, this is very beneficial. For instance, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn actually help recruitment directors of companies professionally connect with you. But this is one of the few cases in which online social networking comes in handy or beneficial in my opinion.
As I have previously mentioned, social networking sites are places in which you present yourself to the public. In regards to such a feature, some people are obsessed with this feat. For instance, one of my closest friends talked about how people judge one another (or a stranger) based on the amount of “likes” on their Facebook profile picture, simply because it defines their connections, popularity, and social ability. Having a thousand friends on Facebook or having 300+ likes on your photos defines how “popular” or “awesome” you are. To a certain extent, this is true. But we must all remember and understand that connecting online doesn’t necessarily define who you are as a real person.
To simply prove my point, log on to your Facebook, go to your friends list, and check how many people you actually know and actually talk to. Even if you have thousands of friends on Facebook, you probably consider only a few on the list as your real friends. Friends who you’ve recently talked to on Facebook are probably the ones that you actually consider as friends.
Just because someone likes your photo on Facebook doesn’t mean that he or she is your friend. Just because someone is on your friends list doesn’t make him or her your friends. You are connected to them online, but you are not necessarily connected to them in real life.
Despite such facts, people are still obsessed about reaching that 200 or 300 likes on their photos, having a thousand connections on LinkedIn and having thousand followers on Twitter. It’s become a habit for most of us.
The proponents of online social networking may argue that such online connections are an easy way for people to connect and keep in touch with others. However, we must consider the fact that the time you spend connecting to people online can be used to actually meet them in person and build stronger, deeper relationships with them.
There is no argument whatsoever on the fact that human-to-human interaction is the best way to build relationships with one another. You simply cannot have dinner over online websites. Okay, you might be able to have it over Skype or Facetime, but how stupid are you to choose that over a physical interaction?
There are definitely some situations in which physical human interaction is impossible. For instance, I cannot simply have dinner with my parents who are in Seoul, South Korea because I’m in Berkeley, California. But besides these special circumstances, social networks shouldn’t have a hand over human interactions in general.
Conan O’Brien, one of the most famous talk show hosts on cable TV network once said, “Only in Harvard would anyone create a massive social network like Facebook to talk to someone in the room right next to yours”. That’s how this famous social network was born, and that’s one of its purposes. And deep inside its technological advance and mechanism, it is drawing us away from our human interactions and relationships.
I personally only have Facebook. That is my only social connection on the Internet with others, and I can assure you that I never had even a slight hint of feeling “apart” from my friends. I take and make time to meet my friends in person and build relationships through physical interactions, not through online connections.
By overly obsessing over social networks, you are creating yourself a puzzle piece in your relationships that will never be found until you have a human interactions with others. If you feel that you are missing a piece of puzzle to complete a relationship or fully connect with another person, it might be a good idea for you to close your laptop, put away your phones and smart watches, and actually have a human conversation with him or her.
Perhaps, then, you will be able to find that missing puzzle that you've been looking for all along.
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