Often I come across a question asked "Is online socializing making us more isolated?, so thought of expressing my thoughts.
I feel, there cannot be a definite & straight 'Yes or No' to the question "Is online socializing making us more isolated?" On a lighter vein, though every management graduate is taught to say 'Depends' to every nice query / question, I would not do so. On a serious note, I would opine myself towards 'No'.
Communication / Information Technology has indeed made the world come closer and it has been very simple to get in touch and get connected with anybody situated at any place on the earth and, that too, in seconds.
To some extent, I very much agree that Internet has made people sit back at their homes instead of going out at places and getting in touch with their pals/relatives and others. Internet has really created a 'virtual world' which is very different and unrealistic than the real world. Online socializing is more preferred medium for communication since it saves a lot of time in travelling, saves precious fuel which is good in today's 'Go Green' era, avoids making people uncomfortable by sudden visits, avoids us breathing polluted air, etc. Online socializing has literally removed all the geographical barriers for getting someone to know. If we go by the surveys done by reputed organisations/consultants, Online socializing has definitely made people isolated, since sitting in a closed room with only the person and a computer, there is no face to face interactions, no exchange of emotions, no personal touch to the meetings/interactions, etc. "See you soon" has been now often on Internet instead of real one.
However, I feel online socializing has not made us isolated entirely. I would say some of us have been able to come out of isolation due to online socializing. Some of us means, senior citizens, housewives, handicaps, etc. Internet can open up new vistas for people who are isolated, lonely or homebound. Online social networking can surely bring a purpose to those who are bored or depressed. Online socializing for professionals has actually made them more open instead of isolated since online professional networking has given them an opportunity to interact with senior professionals and others enabling them to increase their knowledge and contact base since through conferences, seminars, these professionals can really meet up and engage in associations for a fruitful professional life. If we observe, still today hotels, restaurants are full on any given day and time, roads are crowded in festivities, theatres are house full though we have home theatres available, still playgrounds are full with youngsters playing games inspite of availability of online games, we still breathe polluted air, we still get ourselves stuck in traffic jams. Why all this knowingly? Just because someone is going somewhere to meet someone, and 'for being with and among the people' inspite of online socializing.
I feel, the crux is to identify at what point of time are we really becoming isolated due to online socializing? Are we avoiding to leave our homes, even if our friend stays just a lane away from ours? Are we really busy that we don't have time for face to face meetings? Is our weight increasing? And such questions so on. If we get answer to this and can identify it, then online socializing cannot make us isolated. There is an increasing awareness about isolation and people are now realising that online socializing is fine to some extent. Online socializing may be fun, but stepping out of our homes and going to the theatres and watching a movie on the big screen sitting among people and shouting, is more fun.