With the advent of more powerful communication tools enabled by technology, will the congregation of social groups suddenly create voids in our humanity? Let’s time travel to the past for a while.
I remember a time when connecting with family and friends was done either face to face or using the phone (the landed one). Then people around me started carrying these things called mobile phones, and it was considered hip to actually own one. I was oblivious to this accessory, since I haven’t found a need to be constantly contactable.
Then I started studying in a university, and through force of pressure, I was strongly persuaded to get a mobile phone. It was a flip phone, one of the earlier models that I got from a friend.
I also found out about the Internet. The hip thing then was ICQ and MSN Messenger, two instant messaging software available. Through peer pressure, I was again strongly persuaded to sign up, so I could go home and chat with my friends online. The conversation usually degenerated into near-monosyllabic words and arcane short forms like gtg (got to go) and lol (laugh out loud).
When we’re free in between attending lessons or doing homework and research, my friends (and I, you got it, strongly persuaded) logged on to Neopets, and practically bashed on the refresh button on the web browser so we could get our virtual hands on the store items when the Neopets server restocked.
Then people found the Internet to be a fantastic communication medium. Community web sites sprung forth, empowering people to reach beyond to the world. Forums and other online groups became connecting points.
Technology advanced. Better features. Faster upload/download speeds. And Web 2.0 came. Digg, Reddit, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube and other social media sites appeared. And people flocked to them in droves.
We seem to have this innate need to connect with other people. Like this elderly gentlemen whom Darren met while shopping for inspiration. Text and images on web sites aren’t enough anymore. We want to see and hear people through the Internet too. Audio and video are becoming more important. My blogging mentor, Yaro Starak, is also experimenting with more video posts, along with Darren and other bloggers.
Then I read about this article on a hole in the universe. Astronomers found a void in space, and their explanation was that gravity from high density masses are attracting nearby matter. When enough of these attractors came together, a void was formed because of the absence of matter between the attractors.
Will this happen to us? Will our new generation social media groups unwittingly create voids in our humanity, by pulling in masses of people to them?