The Effects of Technology - Happiness in this world...

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Unformatted text preview: - Happiness in this world - ht'tp:/[wavwmappinessinthisworld.com - The Effects Of Technology On Relationships Posted By Alex Lickerman On June 6, 2010 @ 5:15 pm In Compassion, Relationships | 9 Comments Email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Delicious, Digg, LinkedIn, blogs (of course), and scores of others—all part of the new and wonderful ways we can now connect with one another electronically, each with its own culture and unique set of rules. In one sense, the planet has never been more interconnected. And yet, this interconnectedness, while wonderful, hasn't come without cost. ISOLATION Much has been written about the dangers of Internet addiction. From pornography to merely surfing the web, the Internet is clearly the television of the 215t century, an electronic drug that often yanks us away from the physical world. Like any addiction, the real cost, for those of us who are truly addicted, is to the number and quality of our relationships with others. We may enjoy online relationships using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, for example, but the difference between these kinds of interactions and interactions with people in the physical world is clearly vast. As long as we expect no more from these online relationships than they can give, no good reason exists why we can‘t enjoy the power of social media sites to connect us efficiently to people we'd otherwise not touch. The problem, however, comes when we find ourselves subtly substituting electronic relationships for physical ones or mistaking our electronic relationships for physical ones. We may feel we're connecting effectively with others via the Internet, but too much electronic~relating paradoxically engenders a sense of social isolation. DANGERS Making our meaning clear electronically presents extra challenges. For example, we write things like “LOL” and “LMAO” to describe our laughter, but they’re no real substitute for hearing people laugh, which has real power to lift our spirits when we’re feeling low. I've also observed people using electronic media to make confrontation easier and have seen more than one relationship falter as a result. People are often uncomfortable with face-to-face confrontation, so it’s easy to understand why they'd choose to use the Internet. Precisely because electronic media transmit emotion so poorly compared to in-person interaction, many view it as the perfect way to send difficult messages: it blocks us from registering the negative emotional responses such messages engender, which provides us the illusion we're not really doing harm. Unfortunately, this also usually means we don't transmit these messages with as much empathy, and often find ourselves sending a different message than we intended and breeding more confusion than we realize. As a result, I've made it a rule of thumb to limit my email communications as much as possible to factual information only. IfI need to work something out with someone that feels difficult, uncomfortable, or unpleasant, I make myself communicate in person. In—person interactions, though more difficult, are more likely to result in positive outcomes and provide opportunities for personal growth. Whenever I hear stories of romantic break-ups, firings, or even arguments going on electronically, I cringe. We find ourselves tempted to communicate that way because it feels easier—but the outcome is often worse. ETIQUETI'E For transferring information efficiently, the Internet is excellent. For transacting emotionally sensitive or satisfying connections, it's not. My wife and I joke that we use email messaging when we're sitting back-to-back in our home office, but we use it to keep a record of our schedule. When we have a conflict, we turn our chairs around and talk. ...
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