Can you see the blue elephant in the room?

Today in class, we got to pick an article from the Daily Mail and create a debate about the topic. At first I went with the “intelligent” article, where they were discussing the financial crisis in the U.S (where they mentioned, among other numbers, $1.2 trillion. No, I can’t get my head around how massive of an amount that is either. $1.2 trillion. Try to picture it. Can you? I’m impressed.) and Barack Obama was all like “I can has veto, I can has use it, hah!” and the Republicans were like “Well you suck!” and it was all very mature and grown up and interesting.

But then me and the girl thatย was doing the assignment with me started talking about other things. It was my fault we got side-tracked (and that usually never happens *coughs*). I said “They only got into the crisis because today, money isn’t an actual thing any more, it’s an abstract concept, an empty number. If you can’t see the money, if you don’t have money that you can hold in your hand, then how are you supposed to grasp the idea of your actual resources?” This quickly lead into “Nothing is real any more!”, “Can you believe this years Christmas-present in Sweden is a 3 month subscription to ‘Linas Matkasse’ (Note for non-Swedish readers; Linas Matkasse is a grocery-bag with a selection of groceries and recipes, so you don’t have to decide what you want to cook for yourself any more, and if you don’t want to bother with planning a meal and finding the recipe yourself, you probably don’t want to go to the store either, so yes, it comes to the door for you) how sick is that?”, “I can’t remember where someone said this but you know how if a guy wanted to ask a girl out in the good old days he had to turn up with flowers on her door-step and now he can just scroll through a list of eligible young singles and click ‘send flirt’ on the ones he thinks are hot enough for him (e.g, way out of his league)… Oh, I’m pretty sure that’s what Drew Barrymore says in ‘He’s just not that into you’. Yeah, that’s probably it”, “In fifty years from now people won’t even talk to each other in real life because you never have to leave your house to do anything!!!!!” and other similar remarks.

Seeing as how I felt this conversation became so interesting I figured it would be more fun to start a debate on this topic, so we quickly scrolled… I mean, looked through the page… I mean, newspaper, to see if there was an update… I mean, article about Facebook. Lo and behold, there was! According to this article we’re now several steps closer to anyone else on the planet… getting in touch with them, that is. The question me and the other girl decided to ask was this; do you feel that iPhones, laptops, media in general and networking-sites such as Twitter and Facebook brings people closer together or makes people more detached?

My own response was instant. “More detached, of course” I thought to myself. Then I stopped and mentally chided myself for being so hasty. Because think of all the people we would not even bother to keep in touch with if it wasn’t for Facebook? And all the people who would not spare the time out of their day to see what was up with you if they couldn’t read it all in a tweet? In this sense, the social networking does help us keep in touch with people. Ok, so I guess that’s determined. But wait. Keeping in touch with people, is that the same as maintaining a friendship, or a functioning relationship of any kind? If there were blue elephants and I was friends with one on Facebook, we’d be able to poke each other and hit the “like-button” every once in a while when one of us posted a status-update, but “Phoowro-proooo-pheeeuut!” (< what it would look like if a blue elephant could type. Assuming they exist) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and so even though I might think that the blue elephant is an all right dude, I wouldn’t really know the blue elephant, or care to get to know him. (In case any blue elephants are reading this, I’m really sorry, I apologise for my race’s inability to understand any language but its own, I know, we’re very ignorant.)

If they exist, the probably look like this.

With these questions in mind, maybe the social networking of today brings people closer together while making them more socially dysfunctional at the same time? Or are we just developing a new way to socially interact, which might be different but doesn’t have to be wrong just because it’s not like we used to interact? We don’t bow to people and kiss their hand any more (if you do, that is totally rad. Keep it up), just like we’re now starting to get closer to equality between men and women and in certain awesome countries and states, gay marriage is legal. So who’s to say that only some change is ok, but some things have to remain the way they’ve “always” been? Maybe this new way to socially interact is just another step forward in our evolution, and not a step backwards into social awkwardness and seclusion.

I’m sure you guys have a lot more interesting input on this, so I would like to hear your thoughts regarding networking-sites such as Facebook and Twitter and how they’re affecting social interaction today. If you can be bothered to comment ๐Ÿ˜‰

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8 thoughts on “Can you see the blue elephant in the room?

  1. We JUST discussed this in my moral foundations philosophy course today! Jeez, we must be telepathically connected in this thing called blog-love!
    Anyways, I made the stake that technology harms our relationships and friendships.
    I then went on to distinguish the use of technology, best exemplified through email, is not socially harmful because it is not being used in place of social interactions. I think social media and networking are socially harmful because people have a blind tendency to use them in place of social, human to human interactions. Intimacy allows for compassion, emotions, and physicality to be transmitted. You cannot get that same level of interaction through social networking.

    Check this out: sort of a similar topic I just wrote about earlier this week.
    http://kleshasandtanhas.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/a-crippling-digital-divide-social-injustice-caused-by-advertisements-part-1/

    1. Ha ha I know I get e-mail updates from WordPress with new widgets and ideas for blog-posts, so though I rarely open the ones with the blog-post ideas (maybe I should and it’ll make me post more often!) I do like to have a look at the new widgets and formatting, and the snow-thing is one of those ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I think social networking sites just give us the illusion of relationships, neither strengthening nor weakening them. They’re easy! There is something very dishonest about relationships maintained through sites like Facebook – maybe that’s why I could never bring myself to get one.

    It’s why I like letters so much, they are tangible/physical proof of a bond and the effort someone gave to maintain that bond. LETTER WIN.

    I miss you, and if you’re are wondering: I’m totally saving all my dollars to come visit next year! BE EXCITED.

    P.S. I like your snow.

    1. I miss you too missus! I got the book yesterday, safe and sound, and I promise I will return it to you MUCH sooner this time than last ๐Ÿ™‚
      Also, you coming for a visit makes me CRAZY excited!!!!! How should me manage to find a good date for a girls-night on Skype? Maybe Twitter is the answer.
      Love!

  3. The problem is you never get to see anyone because you can just chat on Facebook, but it isn’t the same. How can tapping a couple of words to your friends via a social networking site beat having a coffee (or hot chocolate) together? And when someone says LOL or ROFL, how do you know they’re laughing? How do you know they’re not distractedly chatting to about ten people at a time online?

    1. Oh I agree. Certainly, an online friendship and a real life one can never be quite the same. If you can’t do things with the other person the friendship is limited to verbal exchange, but still, can’t you get drawn to someone’s mind, their ideas and ideals, their passions and projects? Even though you can never truly know that you know who someone is when you meet them online… aren’t there so many cases when you thought you knew a person in real life until they did something you’d never have expected of them? We only know just as much about a person as they are willing to share with us, and that goes for online and offline relationships. So I think this is certainly debatable. But good point. Few things beat hanging out with your friends over a cup of coffee ๐Ÿ™‚ (For the record, I don’t say lol very often, but when I do, I am truly laughing out loud ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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