Sunday, April 22, 2012

Keeping Your Distance with Social Media

How social media allows you to control your interactions and Keep Your Distance. We all want and need to interact with other people and most of the time those interactions are healthy, beneficial and rich with information. However, many times the richness of the communication environment can be a distraction or impediment to the hoped for outcome of the interaction.
A recent commercial survey for a web meeting platform suggested that people and women in particular prefer online meetings to face-to-face meetings for a number of interesting reasons. Most of those reasons involve some desire for people to keep their distance from annoying, ineffective, irritating and offensive elements of meat space interactions. The environment is too rich for the purpose and the extraneous elements are actually an impediment to communication.
Same thing applies in a high school classroom where you pile in a bunch of hormonally inflamed adolescents and expect them to control their biology long enough to enjoy some sort of cognitive and intellectual development. Yes social development is important but the two should not necessarily be combined at all times.

In circumstances like these using social media to control or "keep your distance" is an adaptive response and one that planners and organizers should bear in mind when redesigning work or educational environments.

Gatin, G. (2009). Keeping your distance: A basic social process (Dissertation). Fielding Graduate University.