Daily Archives: February 24, 2011

Is the Internet making us more intimate?

I remember when I was building relationships when I was young.  We didn’t have email, mobile phones or any type of social networks.  I used to do my courting by letter, written by hand, not typed, and using the public payphone.  It was sporadic and bitty.

How times have changed since those early days.  Now it’s possible to be in IM, or social contact with people throughout the day.  The standard work rituals seem to be broken. No longer are we denied the contact with friends and family throughout our working day.  We multitask, discover what is happening in our friends social worlds.  This contact has changed the way we interact with our connections.  And it’s all due to this multi-layered connection.

Stefana Broadbent is an ethnographers who has been studying human behaviour and how it has changed the level of intimacy.  Have a look at this great TED video

Stefana talks about the democratisation of intimacy. 80 per cent of calls made to 4 people only, and Skype, 2 people.  People are now using webcams to carry out parenting activities with their remote families, to share a meal with people in other locations.  75% of people admit to having private conversations at work, whether by phone or text.  It’s a great opportunity to have a much greater opportunity for intimacy.

She discusses whether having daily contact with family could have a negative effect (Like army personnel fighting in Afghanistan for example) and how it has changed the way that large organisations interact.  Some prevent interaction, some encourage it.

It’s amazing to consider just how far we’ve come with  our interactions over the last 20 years.  Is it better?

I think so… Long may it continue Smile