Has social tech made us less sociable?

Has social tech made us less sociable?

Summary: That question has been popping up more often these days as raw videos of angry young lads pushing elderly women off the bus and road-rage instances make their rounds on the Web.High on trending topics last week was a video of a 25-year-old man who was filmed in a bus, shouting and threatening to slap a 76-year-old woman because she had pressed the bell to alight the vehicle at the last minute.

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That question has been popping up more often these days as raw videos of angry young lads pushing elderly women off the bus and road-rage instances make their rounds on the Web.

High on trending topics last week was a video of a 25-year-old man who was filmed in a bus, shouting and threatening to slap a 76-year-old woman because she had pressed the bell to alight the vehicle at the last minute. The tiff culminated in the young lad pushing the elderly woman down the flight of stairs off the bus, sparking much furor among netizens appalled over the act.

And it seems like such raw videos depicting the angry man-on-the-street have been on the increase, as one after another surfaces and goes viral on the Internet. These days, it's no longer uncommon to see footages of drivers quarreling over seemingly trivial matters like a parking space.

In discussions with friends over the bus incident, we debated whether people these days were quicker to lose their temper or whether the advent of social media and camera-equipped smartphones merely exposed the deep-seeded resentment that had always existed in mankind.

I'd like to think we're not living in a world inhabited by angry, bitter people only too ready to strike over the slightest provocation. Rather, I think the impact of technology on socioeconomics has been so tremendous and emerged so rapidly some of us have lost sight of what has remained unchanged: we're still only humans.

These days, bosses and customers expect their e-mail messages to be responded to within minutes, regardless of what we might be busy with at the moment. We're expected to be online 24 by 7, and we're expected to carry our mobile messaging devices with us while on holiday so we can attend to "work emergencies".

That's such an oxymoron, isn't it? Work emergency? Is any work-related issue ever a life emergency? Since when did the possibility of losing a deal, even if it's worth millions of dollars, become an emergency?

But that's the reality we breathe in today. Go on holiday, don't answer "work emergencies" e-mail, lose a big client, get fired for losing that big client, face the possibility of not being able to feed our family, and watch a work emergency turn into a life emergency.

And with colleagues and employers stalking our social media profiles and presumably watching our every move, even as our personal and work lives increasingly overlap, small wonder some of us now feel like we're living on the edge most of the time.

It would be interesting to see some medical stats on whether the average human heart and blood pressure rates have increased over the past decade.

No doubt the pace of life has accelerated exponentially and we're all trying to carve a living for ourselves. But, we get only this one shot at life, do we want to waste it being angry all the time?

Topic: Social Enterprise

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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