Nowhere-Somewhere (Pt 2): How the Internet has Changed the way we Maintain Relationships

Seeing as it’s Valentines Day…

This post is intended to link back to my previous topic [1] on the hybridisation of reality and cyberspace where I argued that digital communications have amalgamated with our real world to add further layers of meaning and allow a simpler way of connecting with people and news from around the planet.

This brief article will track how people’s personal relationships have changed over time through the use of digital communications.

Due to the abundance of messaging systems such as Windows Messenger, Facebook Chat and Skype, we are now able to have instantaneous interactions with people around the world just as we would do in real life. The advances in technology have changed the way people choose to socialise and, whilst some consider it to be detrimental ones health [2] [3], shaped the way we maintain friendships.

A recent survey conducted by Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines found that “nearly four out of five women and three out of five men say that they believe texting, Facebook and other social media tools for staying connected cause new couples to jump into bed faster” [4][5].

However, these social tools are not just useful for connecting as the report goes on to state that other forms of digital media are used to vet potential dates. The internet allows users to view the lives of others from the safety and anonymity provided by their computer screens and phones; a virtual form of stalking, and in some cases voyeurism, that would be nearly impossible to replicate without the use of digital media.

Digital Intimacy

“Digital intimacy” has now progressed well beyond the realms of “You’ve Got Mail” (Ephron, N., 1998) with the invention of video calling and instant messaging, a real world tangibility is added to the digitisation of relationships. This combined with the statistic that 57% of people talk to others more online than they do in real life shows just how much digital communications have become an integrated part of our social lives [6]. Again, I would like to address my previous post by saying that these digitally mediated relationships are not overtaking our traditional ones but, rather, amplifying them and working harmoniously with them in amongst our busy lifestyles.

The advert below is a lovely example of how we use digital media to help us with our relationships rather than let it consume them. This particular example is my favourite from a series of vomit-inducingly sugary spots which were uploaded online by Apple:

Editors Note: Lets not forget, however, that social media and other forms of digital communications don’t always provide positive interactions with our real world relationships…

References

1. https://paulmmartinblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/nowhere-somewhere-the-hybridisation-of-reality-and-cyberspace-part-1/

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1352361/Children-spend-time-computers-TV-exercising-week.html

3. http://news.cnet.com/8301-10797_3-10281882-235.html

4. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/24/us-sex-survey-idUSTRE70N5F020110124?feedType=

5. http://advertising-communications-culture.blogspot.com/2011/01/social-networking-leads-to-sooner-sex.html

6. http://itsasmallweb.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/57-of-people-talk-to-people-more-online-than-they-do-in-real-life/

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4 thoughts on “Nowhere-Somewhere (Pt 2): How the Internet has Changed the way we Maintain Relationships

  1. Hi Paul it’s lauren from Nerve. Just hunting round blogs trying to get some good bits and pieces together and was wondering if i could pinch any of your work? Was thinking possibly the black swan review and thing baout internet relationships? email at the usual nerve_features@hotmail.com 😀 cheeeeers

  2. Pingback: Proximity Marketing: Too Close for Comfort? « Paul Martin's Blog

  3. Pingback: Data Mining and the Targeting Paradox « Paul Martin's Blog

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