Is The Internet Making Us Less Sociable?

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sociable-internetWhen I was a kid, my social circle was very straightforward. I used to go down to the local shop to pick up groceries for my parents, and hang out with my friends.

That was it, really.

We were poor, we couldn’t afford a telephone and that forced me to make all my communications face to face.

Don’t times change?

These days, I get up in the morning and log on to Skype, and catch up with people all over the world.

I use e-mail more than any other communications method, and most of my business dealings take place electronically.

Convenience and speed in our communications

I remember my corporate working days, flying all over the world just for a few meetings.

These days, people favor speed and efficiency over time-consuming and lengthy meetings. The days when people would congregate in a boardroom for hours are over.

Instead, we use videoconferencing, text and e-mail as a quicker and more effective way of getting our points across. We save time, money and effort by using these new methods for meetings.

How is this affecting our way of life?

When first launched, people shied away from purchasing books online.

We didn’t like the idea of buying a novel without picking it up, reading the back and responding to the image on the cover.

As time has gone by, we’ve become more comfortable with online shopping.

Sites such as Ebay let us get our hands on things which we may not find in our local shops, meaning we can sit in alone and buy things, relying on the post to deliver our goods instead of getting out there and choosing things for ourselves, in person.

Online shopping is another great example of how we’re switching to a digital age.

Now, we can browse for our fruit and vegetables without leaving the comfort of our own homes, and sites such as Tesco and Asda let us do our weekly shop without stepping foot outside.

Services like this, all done over the web, have transformed the way we run our homes and businesses.

Run out of printer ink?

Buy it from Ebay.

Need some dog food?

Get it from Tesco and they’ll deliver it the next day.

People with little time and lots of money can run their businesses and households online, without ever stepping foot outside their front door.

People who I’ve never met buy my blog set up, blog maintenance and blog writing services. They may look at my testimonials or ask for a reference – that’s fine. They become customers and we work together 6,000 miles apart.

Losing out on social interaction

What we gain in convenience, we seem to be missing when it comes to social interaction.

There are a hundred films out there that show people meeting in chance encounters at grocery stores or cafes, and one thing leads to another.

In this age where we can sit in our front rooms and run our lives from the comfort of our sofa, we are missing out on some of the fundamental elements of what it means to be human.

If we continue to run our lives through the World Wide Web, will we lose our powers to make friends, interact face to face, or bump in to people in the street?

With all the ingenuity of the internet, we have to make sure we hang on to some of what is important to us as people.

We need to get out there and be a part of our community, and get back some of the social interaction that we risk losing through our online connections.

Striking a happy medium

Working from home has so many benefits. It gives us the power to run our businesses as we want to, and make a success of ourselves, without answering to other people.

In the same way, we have a responsibility to ourselves to maintain the important things in life – the friends we meet for coffee, the random encounter in the grocery store, and the pleasure of picking up a novel, reading the back of it and deciding to buy it.

What are your experiences of using the web?

Is it convenient, or is it making us lose out on being sociable?

Please share your views in the comments below.


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40 Responses to Is The Internet Making Us Less Sociable?

  1. Klaus July 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I love this Jerry Seinfeld quote “People, they’re the worst!” – so the Internet is just fine for me, no reason to go hang with people I don’t like that much in the first place 🙂

    (I’m not as bad or anti-social as I may sound, don’t worry).
    .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Vodafone Malta- iPhone 4 – “Coming Soon” =-.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm #


      I understand exactly what you are saying. There are a lot of people I avoid – however I have some great friends and I also like meeting new people.

      Like the person I wrote about here:

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

    • Gary David July 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

      You’re right. I don’t go out with people that much, I’d rather stay home, play computer games, eat, sleep, play with my kid, spend time with my family.

      The only time that I usually go out is during the weekends. I don’t turn on my computer during the weekends to have some fun outside, and to balance my social life as well.

  2. Vipin July 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Technology has provided electronic ways of communication so instead of meeting we can drop an email or a message to the desired person. But one thing i really appreciate is how balanced and magical universe we have given by the GOD. I mean whatever be the way of communication be, we still able to connect ourselves from the far end clients as if we were face to face yesterday, that’s the magic. Take an example of your clients, they are far away yet also they are emotionally connected with you as if you meet them daily and giving tips.
    .-= Vipin@Romantic SMS´s last blog ..Romantic SMS 29-6-2010 =-.

  3. Gerlaine Talk July 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Yes the internet is cleaning our clocks about being really social. That is why I love to go to MeetUps. This is another digital format where web people actually get together and meet face to face all over the world. One such site where we can accomplish this is called

    Even though we live in a digital world now, there is a necessity for human interaction. Youtube has meetups and in America we have South East by South West Events. The people that we email everyday or watch on video conferences are now more real to us. Its an awesome new age of hang out! I love it.

    Just when human interaction seemed to be dying out. Here we go. 🙂
    .-= Gerlaine Talk´s last blog ..After Show Notes The First Radio Show =-.

  4. Luqman July 6, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    I dont think internet have make us less sociable, but make us more sociable in the sense that, if we can not go out to meet friends and love one, we can just login to skype or other chatting site for video chat and communicate face to face.

  5. Jason July 6, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    when I was still in college, I never did enjoy staying at home. I always play around all day and drinking booze all night with friends, even on weekends and holidays, no exception. until I started to work as a freelance writer and SEO specialist, then it changed my lifestyle. now, i can only spend time with friends every saturdays, and the rest of my time are spent on work and family. though at this point of my life, I can really tell that I’m contented. I constantly learn a lot of things and skills online and my days speak for itself, very productive. And I guess I’ll just balance my work and social life once I’ve achieved my goals for this year 🙂

    And thanks to facebook, I can still get updated with what’s happening with my friends, so we’re not entirely doomed, socially speaking 🙂

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm #


      I think working for yourself makes a huge difference. You are responsible for making the money come in and sometimes that means working extra long hours.

      But if you are enjoying it…it’s not really work, is it?

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

  6. Patrick July 6, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    I think Internet has increased the sociability of people.That’s is one reason there is the increase in the number of Social networking sites.Besides Internet has ripped apart the Global barrier.Now I can make friends with people who are sitting miles away from my location.

  7. Brad July 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    In some ways technology has made us more social, but connecting us to alot more people. However, there is nothing yet that can replace a face to face conversation, and it’s important to take time to connect on this level with people.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:31 pm #


      It’s about knowing when face-to-face is a must and / or via the internet will suffice.

      I agree there are times when meeting face to face can make a big difference.

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

  8. Dennis Edell July 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    I haven’t shopped in a store since I got online, but I’d rather play poker live. lol

    Seriously though, it does have great advantages. I’ve never been more grateful for the internet style then in the past couple-few years of being at least partially disabled with injuries. 🙂
    .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..UPDATES- =-.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm #


      I can understand exactly what you say.

      What about weekends and spare time – what do you do then?

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

      • Dennis Edell July 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

        I’m on the computer most 7 days per week, for at least a few hrs.

        Other then that, not a whole lot. Watch TV/movies, read, etc.

        I may have a friend or two come over or even go out if it’s something worthy, but not for long.

        Ya know what though, I stopped being a real “party person” long before my injuries anyway.
        .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Have You Written Any WordPress 30 Feature Posts =-.

        • Andrew
          July 8, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

          I haven’t been to a party for about 20 years!!!

          .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Push Your Blogs Pleasure Buttons =-.

          • Dennis Edell July 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

            I wasn’t actually referring to parties, but me either. lol
            .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Have You Written Any WordPress 30 Feature Posts =-.

  9. Dean Saliba July 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Oh no quite the opposite in my experience. I was very antisocial but talking to people online has helped me overcome this problem.
    .-= Dean Saliba´s last blog ..TweetROI Bites The Dust =-.

  10. Alan July 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    I guess that IM gives us enough time in order to go out and meet new people. 🙂
    .-= Alan@Quickest Way To Lose Weight´s last blog ..Fast Weight Loss Diets Confusion =-.

  11. James July 7, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    I personally don’t think this argument holds much weight. I tend to believe that the internet stimulates social activity. Just look at the number of people on Myspace, facebook, twitter….you name it. If there’s any activity that’s not conducive to social activity, it’s watching television. You even get some degree of social interaction playing video games these days, especially with services like XBOX live.
    .-= James@Nail Polish Rack´s last blog ..Where to Buy Nail Polish Display Rack =-.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm #


      The internet can stimulate social activity but…is it the best social activity?

      I don’t think so. You can beat going out with friends and having some fun.

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

      • Brad July 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

        True, you aren’t going to meet with everyone, but for key people it can definitely strengthen the relationship.
        There’s a saying somewhere that says you don’t really know a man until you’ve shared a meal with him.

  12. Sanek July 7, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I don’t agree whith James. I think internet is the real wall between a human and society!
    .-= Sanek´s last blog ..Встроенный шкаф купе в нишу – выгодное решение =-.

  13. Amanda from Unemployment Office July 7, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Good post, Andrew! I think the internet has indeed connected the dots from the past to the present. Long lost friendships and connections from yester-years are easier to be found through social media and this is why most people who wants to keep in touch with old acquaintances join Facebook.

    The only disadvantage is that with much easier access to almost anything, people lose sight of face-to-face communication and just settle electronically. This in some way hinders people from getting a deeper understanding of human behavior and interaction that is better felt in real life than online.
    .-= Amanda from Unemployment Office´s last blog ..10 Practical Ways to Empower Yourself during Unemployment =-.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm #


      Beautiful comment – thank YOU!

      “This in some way hinders people from getting a deeper understanding of human behavior and interaction that is better felt in real life than online.”

      Totally agree.

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

  14. Gary David July 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I somewhat disagree with some people saying that it takes away their social life. Internet is the bridge to connect with people. Before the internet, we socialize in person only, but now we can socialize, meet other people at home using internet.

    • Andrew
      July 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm #


      …and it is our choice of how we do that.

      Some – perhaps the shy – will prefer the internet way and others – perhaps more extrovert – will prefer face-to-face. We are all different.

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is Your BLOG Having Low Opt-in rates? =-.

  15. Susan Petracco July 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    I think the internet makes it EASIER to develop lots of “light” relationships, but it’s hard to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships (business, friendship, romantic) on the computer.
    .-= Susan Petracco @ E-commerce Blog´s last blog ..Rehabbing a Defunct E-Commerce Site =-.

    • Andrew
      July 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm #


      I think the relationshisp can ‘grow’. You can Skype, video call…these activities help ‘grow’ the relationship.

      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Are Your Blog Posts Indexed =-.

  16. Paul August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Well, if you define sociable as “inclined to associate with or be in company of others” it might be making us less sociable.

    But that’s only if you take the “in company of others” very literal.

    In my mind, things like Instant Messenger and facebook helps us be in the company of others, albiet not in the physical company of others.

  17. Harry October 28, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    I am not sure whether to thank you for a great insight, or to just point out you are simply addressing an issue which is totally obvious. I think the latter is more correct, but talking or writing about it is certainly worth it. Your story quickly describes the strange situation we are getting into, and I must say that I kind of like it, and probably way too much. I do realizer that, and I try to actively stay in contact with my friends and clients and meet them in person as much as possible. And really, there’s nothing like it, when you actually see and meet someone in person, it is such a great experience, it stays with me for days. And that’s just my experience, what about theirs? They too feel good about it, or in some cases they may not, but the point is; we certainly need to meet and see other people on a regular basis. If that particular fact is somehow eluding you, then I am thinking that it probably has nothing to do with internet. that’s just your choice, you rather not meet other people, for some reason.

    • Andrew
      October 28, 2010 at 8:55 am #


      Thanks for your awesome, thought-provoking comment.

      For those who don’t like meeting others face to face, they now need not to and they have an excuse…the social side of the internet.

      I’ve heard people sitting next to each other on their ‘social phones’ and saying, “I’ve just Facebooked you”.

      That is weird!

      Andrew recently posted..Run Your Blog Like Any Real BusinessMy Profile


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