Ice Breaker – Social Media and Human Interaction

December 11, 2015 — 6 Comments

ICE BREAKER Social Media

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

(I’m always looking for Ice Breaker question ideas.  If you have an idea, send me an email at jon@jonstolpe.com.  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  Do you think that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media genuinely enhance friendship and human interaction?  Why or why not?

My Answer:  I say yes and no to this question.

First the yes.  Facebook, Twitter, the blogging community, and other social media has given me the opportunity to connect and establish friendships with many people across the country and around the world.  As a result of my on-line presence, I’m friends with people like:  Larry “The Deuce” Carter from Tennessee, Dan Erickson from Washington, Ellory Wells from Texas, Matthew Lovell from Georgia, Amy Robles from Washington, Steve Young from Pennsylvania, Michael Shaw from Pennsylvania, and Chad Jones from Arizona.  (And these are just a few of the people I’ve connected with on-line.)  I’ve met a few of these people in person (Dan, Steve, Michael, and Chad), but these friendships have generally been developed on-line.

Facebook in particular gives me the opportunity to stay in touch with many people who might normally fall off my radar.  I appreciate the chance to stay in touch with friends from high school, college, and other places from my past.  Social media has even given me the opportunity to re-establish communication with some long lost friends and acquaintances.

From these connections, I can definitely tell you that social media can enhance friendship and human interaction.

But there is another side to this question – the no side.

I believe we were made for relationship.  And I also believe that the best relationships are cultivated face-to-face.  Social media cannot fully translate all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that can be expressed when humans interact directly face-to-face.  This is why I go to church every week.  This is why I work in an office next to my co-workers.  This is why my family tries to eat together at dinner time.  This is why I meet with thirteen other guys every Friday at 6AM.

I love the opportunities and connections the social media and blogging world have created for me, but I also know I need the kind of community and accountability that can only happen when I’m looking someone eye-to-eye and face-to-face.

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep Stretching!

Jon Stolpe

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • Lulu

    I’m going full grump and say no – I don’t believe that the social media has made relationships better. It is too easy to “reach out and touch someone” that we have no intention of supporting in friendship. Often contact is just curiosity. It breaks my heart to see a group, whether friends or family, around a table in a restaurant and everyone has their face in a phone. Or in a coffee shop, a once mecca for connecting casually with strangers, now a spot for connecting to Wi-Fi. Instead of the glow of laughter, everyone’s face reflects the ghostly hue of the screen. Story after story is heard of the damage done by people hiding under the cloak of anonymity as they critically comment and bully. Young people, in their most vulnerable years, are constantly exposed to criticism. Employers loose working hours, vehicles are operated unsafely, and casual conversations exploring thoughts and ideas are shut down with a Google search. Folks seem to not have the ability to shut it off. The need to connect is this superficial way is so addictive that it is the first thing reached for in the morning and the last thing put down for the night. So even home life is affected. I believe we are put in a place to make a difference in that place – our home, church, work, family and friendships, not to live through a device. I feel that people have never felt more lonely, isolated and stressed. I’m not against technology, it is the abuse of technology that saddens me. (Told ya I was going to go full grump! 🙂

    • Steve Y

      Well said, Lulu. I agree. And probably stepping on more toes, more and more don’t have a well used Bible with notes and underlines and highlighted. At church, many now use their device and don’t dig and study.

      • True, but the technology also has the opportunity to take people to more places in their studies than they could have done so easily. The creation of YouVersion has been an interesting variable in this equation.

        • Steve Y

          The operative word is “opportunity”. Many that I see bring and don’t utilize.

          • True. And many people bring the physical “Book” but don’t open it or only have it under their arm for show. I think it can go both ways.

    • Thanks for the thoughts. I think this is a discussion we need to be having. How do we balance today’s technology with the need for community?