For those not in the know, you may be asking yourself, “What is Web 2.0?” In short, it describes internet technology that has evolved past the static pages of the early internet. Technology, like social media, allows people all over the world to collaborate and share on the internet by harnessing collective intelligence and enriching the online experience. So, what does this Web 2.0 technology mean for offline relationships?
More adults than ever use some form of Web 2.0 technology, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. In fact, 74% of America is currently in possession of a social profile right this moment. As a result there has been a lot of concern, and a lot of debate, over what that means for our interpersonal relationships outside of the internet universe.
Some people, like author Kim Stultz, think it’s ruining the way we connect. People are constantly checking their phones or catching up on their laptops, rather than actively taking part in their own lives. On the other hand, studies have shown that social media has deeply improved our social stratosphere by making us interact with more people than ever before. We come in contact with new ideas, beliefs, and events we may have missed otherwise. The debate will continue to carry on, but the definite answer is still pretty far off. In the meantime, there will be a never-ending supply of articles discussing the benefits of unplugging or why meeting a partner online is the ideal way to find a match.
There is always the possibility that the increasing social media use will hinder real life interaction by making it extremely difficult for people to converse face-to-face. However, social media can also make connections possible in a new way, thus enriching real life interaction. In short, it becomes a matter of personal decision for how Web 2.0 technology is affecting your life for better or for worse. It’s just a tool for people to get to know one another more intimately; how it’s ultimately used resides with the individual.