Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is social media making us less social?

We’ve been reading and hearing a lot about social media these days. One of my favorite cartoon strips, Zits, has had more than a few themes dealing with Jeremy texting his mom and dad instead of talking to them. Even when he’s in the same room.

With Facebook®, MySpace, Twitter and the myriad of Web 2.0 web sites available, it looks like it might be too much of a good thing.

I just read results by the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California. They’ve been studying time we spend with our families, and the numbers aren’t good. According to results released last week, Annenberg says 28 percent of Americans surveyed are spending more time away from their families. That’s up from 11 percent in 2006.

It’s no surprise the same study shows teens spending more time than ever online.

Not that many years ago television was blamed for cutting into family time. But at least families can watch television together. Not so much surfing the Net unless you're texting or Twittering across the kitchen table.

In a way today’s technology, from PDA’s to social sites, allows parents to keep tabs on their kids more than ever.

But nothing beats face time. One-on-one conversation. “How was your day?” comes across much better in person, rather than texting.

Like everything else, it’s all about balance. We’re in our 22nd year of business here at Video Professor, teaching people how computing saves time for more important things.

So enjoy the technology. Twitter away, but make a point of carving out regular family time where you can be in a real room instead of a chat room, where you can reach out and hug a loved one rather than text them.

It’s all about balance. Keep family in the mix.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at ceo@videoprofessor.com.