Our waiter at a side walk restaurant in Florence last night (I don’t recall his name, sadly), believes that social networks are making us all less social. He said that over his years as a waiter, people have become more obsessed with checking their social networking feeds and less polite. When they come into the restaurant, the first thing they say is: “do you have WiFi?,” rather than “hello.” Then they sit there with their faces in their phones instead of talking. Is it true? Do social networks make us less social?
The post received over 165 plusses and 80 comments, demonstrating how the issue is very interesting to people.
I think the definition of being social has to be revised, meaning that the offline and online aspects of this activity have to be merged. Is somebody who is very socially active online not a sociable person?
Probably yes, within the current most accepted definition.
Being social still means (generally) being keen to engage in human interactions meaning “face to face” interactions with other individuals. Ergo, the example that the waiter in Florence brings up is absolutely valid.
On the other hand, asking if a bar or restaurant has wi-fi is not necessarily related to the need of performing social networking but to the need that individuals have to assume information.
Many of the technological breakthroughs of the past 15 years have drastically changed the way people interact. Social networking is only one of them. All technological developments that have brought a change in the way information is both distributed and searched for have changed the way people communicate and consequently interact. I remember that already 15 years ago people would complain that SMSs were ruining human interactions because they were “taking the tone of a sentence out of human interactions” in comparison to a phone call.