Recently I was on vacation and sitting around the fire with some great friends. It was getting late and the kids were inside watching a movie and it was the part of the day every parent-with-young-kids treasures. The fire was crackling, the day was winding down and I looked around the fire pit and saw that everyone’s faces were lit not by the flames of the campfire but the glow of smart phones.

It was kind of funny and I called it to everyone’s attention. It looked like we were telling lame campfire stories where you hold the flashlight under your face.

We laughed.

And then got back to Facebook.

Were we being antisocial? I know I feel like I am being rude when I am on my phone in a group of people. I feel like I should be more in the moment and engaged with what is going on. But what if everyone else is on their phones? Is social media antisocial?

I’m not saying that it is ever going to be okay to avoid human interaction completely and only interact through devices, but I wonder if the telephone or email ever suffered the same prejudice that social media has endured.

Did the first group of people making phone calls feel like it was a lesser form of communication than a face-to-face conversation?
Did the first users of email feel rude for only communicating in written form?

The fact of the matter about the campfire story is that the conversation was about what was going on on Facebook. (is on on okay?) Is interaction on social media less real?

I know this is a matter of opinion, but my opinion is that online community is real community. Online interaction is real interaction.

Just like a phone conversation is a real conversation. There may be different rules of etiquette but it is a real conversation none the less.

Does a phone call mean you don’t want to talk face-to-face? Sometimes.

Does a text message mean you don’t want to talk? Probably.

Does an email get interpreted differently than was intended? Most of the time.

Is Facebook not real communication? I don’t think so.

Now Google Plus…


What do you think? Is social media making us better or worse communicators? Check out the infographic below and leave your opinion in the comments.


Graphic from Time Razor