Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

Discussion Topic: Social Networking


by Bill

I’ve recently reduced my presence on social sites to nearly zero, using them now only to keep track of the doings of younger family members.

The people I know who seem happiest and most serene seem also to be those who are not into the twitter and poke scene. Those who are, on the other hand, seem harried and always distracted from mindfulness by the cell, Blackberry or smart phone. In addition to what this takes away from face to face intimacy (and good manners), how in the world do they have time to find out who they are?

What’s your take on this? How does the social networking scene add to or detract from spiritual development in your opinion — and experience?

Author: Bill

Stumbling down the Middle Path, one day at a time.

4 thoughts on “Discussion Topic: Social Networking

  1. Peter: I refer to those who seem driven to be “in touch” at the possible expense of appreciating the present moment. I don’t condemn it, merely find personal interactions far more interesting. I really don’t care if someone is leaving their office to get a latté — although I suppose that could be useful information if you have a circle of friends in the immediate area, or co-workers who need to find you.

    As to the sites, I know people who spend hours online at MySpace and Facebook. Perhaps they have that kind of time to spend on those things. At my age, I don’t.

    Nick: I tend to agree with you, while accepting also that some of those folks wouldn’t have a social life without that sort of thing.

    Eduo: Clearly you don’t let it run your life. I know people who do. And, recall, it’s just my personal choice. I’ve no problem with those of others, although I might question the advisability in terms of social and emotional health in some cases.

    Also, recall that I’m an old guy, who views the world and the people in it differently from a fifteen-year-old who was born with a mobile phone in his hand, so to speak. It isn’t part of my culture. That’s why I asked for other opinions.

    As regards the blogging simile, I’m afraid I don’t get the connection.

    Namasté all…

  2. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “social sites.” The ones I visit most frequently have some personal information–some chatter, I guess–but that doesn’t necessarily distract from the important human content. On the contrary. That kind of intimacy speaks to me as much of day-by-day Buddhism as does the discussion of more spiritual-theoretical issues.

  3. I’m in full agreement with you, Bill. Years ago, about a year or so after I subscribed to a news group, which was about a year of so after separating from my wife, I wrote a paper based on the premise that those who seemed to being spending numerous hours a day writing and responding to posts on the group were isolating themselves socially and emotionally. Of course, my observations may have been skewed because of the nature of the group: Alternate.Support.Loneliness.

  4. Isn’t this like leaving blogging because some bloggers are always typing entries in their blackberries or iphones?

    I use twitter, a lot. I only ever use it from the computer or very casually from the iPod touch with WiFi. I have purposedly not enabled SMS twittering or notifications.

    The tool is not to blame for its users. Lots of hardcore twitter users don’t enable mobile notifications (one of the reasons is just what you outlined).

    The key, probably, is to not care if you miss tweets when you’re not checking it out and remembering that those sent to you will appear in the “replies” section of the web or capable clients.

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