The new way of keeping in touch

There is some thought today that computers, smartphones, iPods, and iPads have isolated people who seldom talk with each other any more.
There are now more cellphones in the world than there have ever been landlines. In some households, the landlines have disappeared and all that remains are the cellphones for each member of the home.
Phone plans now make it cheaper to text one another than to talk to one another on the same phone. And wonder of wonders, you can see two people walking down a street together, with cellphones in front of them and their fingers busy punching the screen or keys, and you realize they actually are communicating with one another and not a word is being spoken.
And in restaurants, you hear cellphones start ringing and people immediately launch into conversation with someone who is not at their table. Or they are responding to a text message.
Table etiquette says that it rude.
We may appear to be less social to each other in conventional ways, but today we find that we can be more social in the world. We instantly can connect with someone. We may not speak to one another, but we do communicate.
To young people and teenagers, Facebook allows you to brag about the number of friends you have accumulated. A new category has been created that allows you to change friends to acquaintances.
It is really a more accurate representation of the people you know.
But Facebook allows you to follow the lives of all those people. And a Facebook user probably has more than 245 friends or acquaintances.
If you happen to Google “Social Media Networks,” you will discover there are hundreds—if not thousands—of sites for people to connect with.
“43Things” can connect you with people who share a specific interest with you. There is a category for “Stop Procrastinating.” The category connects you with people who have ideas and advise to help you stop procrastinating.
There is a site to talk about books. There are sites for learning Japanese and German. If you choose “Pinterest,” an online pin board, you can see all kinds of projects and fashion ideas.
It even will connect you through Twitter and Facebook. Twitter lets you follow others and make comments in 140-character “tweets.”
There are special social networks for travel, for baby-boomers, people with disabilities, and for those who are into movies and TV series. There is a site for everyone and for every interest.
The number of sites continues to grow. It used to be simple—everyone connected with YouTube and commented on videos. Then came Facebook and LinkedIn, and then the world of networks exploded. Work relationships created LinkedIn, with 120,000,000 people connecting with colleagues.
Thirty-two million people use Flickr to share photographs while 63,000,000 share movies on Flixter. More than 15 million individuals are on following family and genealogy. Over 200 million teens worldwide are using Habbo.
Literally there are thousands of connections you can make.
The Internet made life simpler with e-mail, but that is losing its lustre. Instead we want instant response.
While we might like to think that the social media networks are for the English-speaking world, for every English-speaking network, a similar network can be found for Spanish, German, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, and other languages.
Keeping up with friends, and people with similar interests, is time-consuming. Perhaps that is why so few have much time to actually talk to each other.
Social networks are the new method of keeping in touch.

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