According to ‘experts’ (overused and often undeserved title alert!) a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, life is gonna be good because of the social web. Honestly, since most of these folks probably depend on the Internet to make a living are they going to say anything else?
The study revealed
The social benefits of internet use will far outweigh the negatives over the next decade, according to experts. They say this is because email, social networks, and other online tools offer “low friction” opportunities to create, enhance, and rediscover social ties that make a difference in people’s lives. The internet lowers traditional communications constraints of cost, geography, and time; and it supports the type of open information sharing that brings people together.
While they acknowledge that use of the internet as a tool for communications can yield both positive and negative effects, a significant majority of technology experts and stakeholders participating in the fourth Future of the Internet survey say it improves social relations and will continue to do so through 2020.
For me I can’t tell what’s going to happen because how this all looks in 10 years will likely be very different and we have yet to feel the actual impact of the social web on life as we know it. We are experiencing it as a group for the first time over the past 5 years on a much larger scale and really everyone is just getting their feet wet at this point. It’s too early in the game to tell if what has happened is actually good or bad. Right now it just ‘is’.
One piece of terminology I found interesting is the idea of “low friction” opportunities. To me this implies a more ‘surfacey’ interaction and it rings a little hollow. I say that in a cautionary manner because it looks like we are quickly diluting what true interaction is as evidenced by “online activism” that simply requires someone to like something or join an online group to check off that they ‘did something’ about a matter of importance. Imagine if millions of people checked a box in support of a great cause and let it go at that. No matter what the issue people need to get their hands dirty to really enact change. “Low friction” interactions don’t seem to create that urgency. Just my opinion, of course.
So let’s continue Pew’s work and chime in as to how you see the new world social interaction impacting your life over the next ten years. What might it look like? Will it be good or otherwise?