The popularity and availability of social media makes it easy to reach out to people. Now, more than ever, it is easy to keep in touch with friends and family even if you are miles apart. A quick text message, WhatsApp or Snapchat takes seconds. The idea that you don’t have to be in the same place as somebody to ‘talk’ to them is welcome in today’s global society. I keep in touch with friends I have met from foreign countries despite only seeing them once a year or less. In these scenarios where face-to-face interaction is not an option, social media provides the perfect platform to share content and keep in touch.
Whilst Nationwide may emphasise the importance of face-to-face interaction in a business environment, the advert makes a very valid point. Just because we have an abundance of software at our fingertips with the capability to connect us with anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t mean that we do.
There is one undeniable negative about the increase in use of social media as a main form of communication. Social media is no longer used to compliment face to face interaction; for many, it has slowly become a replacement. This means that, instead of truly connecting with those on our friends lists, we send a short and edited snapshot of our lives periodically. Instead of picking up the phone and hearing the other person’s voice, enjoying a moment of laughter, or consoling somebody when you hear them cry, we fail to pick up on how others are feeling. Through social media, you can share more than ever, but you can hide even more of how you are feeling than before.
At 0:49 in the advert, Sugar J Poet imagines a different world ‘Imagine there were no phones, no Facebook, no such thing as online, you’d probably find the time to meet up for a cuppa and a schmooze‘. But shouldn’t the opposite be true? If we are so connected to each other why is it that so many people in society feel lonely? Is it true that many people are suffering because, as a society, we do not make the effort or the time to engage in valuable face-to-face interaction.
The harsh reality is that no matter how many Facebook friends you have, or Twitter followers, there is no replacement for real face-to-face conversation. It has become too easy to be ‘friends’ without actually engaging in friendship. Technology has advanced to such a level that you can share in experiences without actually being present in the moment. It is hard to feel involved in something you are receiving on a computer screen. In this modern era of technology, it is even easier to be alone.
The replacement of letters and phone call conversations with modern apps may be convenient. It may be quicker and easier than ever to get in touch with somebody. However, if those apps are used as a replacement and not a supplement for face-to-face interaction, the overall impact is that people feel less connected. The message in Nationwide’s advert is clear: there really is no substitute for real face-to-face communication.