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Social Networks: Enhancing or Destroying Our Interpersonal Skills?
55.6 million adults in the United States alone have social networking accounts with sites like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. We use them for business, to make friends and find love. But could social networking be destroying our interpersonal skills?
By: Anna Aparicio
And why would we, when we can do pretty much everything and anything at the touch of a button and without shifting our bottoms?
Anna Aparicio, Top Dublin Life Coach and Self-esteem & Confidence Expert, has her own opinion on the matter: "The blockbuster movie Avatar conveyed the heart warming message that we are all connected to each other and to mother Earth. And it seems we are; maybe not in the romantic slash holistic sense I got from the movie, but in a scarily futuristic and cybernaut kind of way. It seems we flew mother Earth’s nest to move in with our lover, the Mac Book".
Computers seem to have become an intrinsic part of our lives. Thanks to them we can browse, search and join networks of all sorts, we can set up profiles, connect with family, co-workers and friends, we can even run our own cyber farms, without the hard work or the smells. We can upload our best ever pictures and fun videos, share our innermost thoughts with the world, make controversial and bold statements, comment freely on other peoples’ posts. We can request friends, accept, reject or ignore them, just because… we can peek, stalk and poke at will. We can even set up our own fan pages and instantly create an air of celebrity around us. Many of us find ourselves laughing at the computer, getting angry at things, and even crying.
We flirt, start relationships and end them by simply clicking Block or Delete.
But when we need a hug and a kiss, not of the cyber kind, of the kind that involves someone else enveloping you with their arms and sharing the warmth of their body and their energy with yours, or putting cheek to cheek… well, computers don’t have arms, and if you have ever tried to kiss your computer, apart from running the risk of being a weirdo, you’ll find it doesn’t tend to kiss you back. And forget about those four thousand friends from all over the world that you haven’t and will never meet in person. You can look, but you can’t touch.
"I don’t know about you, but when someone sends me a virtual gift, I can’t help but feel kind of cheated!" says Anna. "Social networking has given way to a new social dynamic where we get to make friends from across the globe, but know nothing of our next-door neighbour. We are creating alternate realities made of superficial and sometimes false networks of strangers, and sometimes I wonder if this is an unavoidable result of a rapidly growing world, or if we are just plain lazy".
Is this hyper connectedness destroying our social skills? What does this preference for text relationships over face to face interaction say about us? Are we unlearning how to naturally interact with other humans?
Anna thinks that while we are gaining a whole new set of social skills, we may be at risk of losing many of the interpersonal skills that can only be learnt via face to face interation, and which are the building blocks of a healthy self-esteem.
Contact Anna Aparicio at http://www.delite.ie
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Regarded as Ireland's top female NLP/Hypnosis Life Coach, Anna Aparicio is a Self-image and Confidence Expert. She uses Neuro-linguistic Programming, Hypnosis and personal development tools to develop massive changes in her clients' lives, fast.