Why is More Time Spent Socializing Online than in Person?
A question in the Q&A section at HubPages caught my attention. Why do we spend so much more time socializing online than in person? Social networks are rampant online. Large networks include Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Pinterest and Instagram users are growing at a high rate. Yet what about stopping to say hello to your next-door neighbor or meeting a friend for coffee? Are you more likely to turn on the computer instead?
The internet, for some people, is a security blanket. They are able to sit behind a computer without having to dress up or impress anyone with their appearances. Instead, the words speak for themselves.
Imagine that you have low self-esteem. You are able to sign on to Twitter and interact with people who you do not know in real life. Your connections know only of your online persona and you are confident in your ability to write. For you, communication is easier if you are behind a keyboard and people read your words rather than judge you by appearance.
In this situation, socializing online is preferable to being social in person.
Another reason why people socialize online rather than in person is for convenience reasons. It is likely easier to turn on the computer and log in to Facebook than to call a friend and arrange between your two busy schedules to meet for coffee.
You can even still be in your PJs when you log onto Facebook. You simply take a few steps from your bedroom and there you are, ready to connect with a group of people online. If you meet your friend for coffee, you need to dress (remember the deodorant!) and travel to the location.
When you socialize in person, you also do not have the convenient option of signing out of a conversation at whim. You can log off Twitter when you have to go make dinner or type a one-liner on Google+ when you are too tired to type anymore. A simple "Good night" suffices if you are in the middle of an online conversation. In person, you cannot leave a friend's home quite as quickly! If you did just say "Good night" and leave, your friend would likely view your actions as rude. Convenience? Not so much.
Another reason for the rise of online socializing is mobility issues. Not everyone is able to easily leave home. You may have small children or have a physical or mental affliction that keeps you home much of the day. If you are less mobile and live alone, you may feel lonely.
One way to get over loneliness is to log onto your computer and connect with people online. When you type your password into Twitter, you instantly connect with hundreds or even thousands of followers. There are messages within each user's profile that you can read and respond to in real time. All without even having to leave your home.
There are many reasons why many people socialize more often online than in person. Mobility issues, convenience, and the ability to safely hide behind the keyboard are all reasons for the trend.
Do you find yourself logging on to social media networks more often than you socialize in person? What do you think are the reasons for this trend? I look forward to your answers!