The New Age of Friendship and the Twitter Hivemind

Are we all too connected?

The hivemind that we call Twitter is growing everyday, pulling more and more of us into its tangled skein of public thought diarrhea. We connect to each other through our computers and phones, in a way that we’ve never really done before. Some of us take it for granted, and sometimes we don’t realize how connected we all really are. We constantly update each other over the most trivial of things. We even have games for telling each other where we are or what we’re doing.

Then on of us looses contact.

It doesn’t take long for someone who becomes out of touch to become missed. When we spend just about everyday sharing each others thoughts, we don’t even realize how much intimacy we’re building, at times with complete strangers. We hear a lot from the talking heads about how the modern age is the age of isolation. I disagree. In a time when we are all becoming more and more hermetic in our behavior, we are actually exposing ourselves more and more to the outside world. We may be spending more time alone in our homes, but we are actually building relationships that are closer than those our parents or grandparents built.

The New Age of Friendship

I spent years of my life purposely cutting myself off from the outside world. It was not uncommon for me to go two or three days without talking to anyone at all, and weeks at a time without interaction from anyone that I didn’t work with. Back then I wouldn’t have ever considered that someone I knew might be in trouble because I hadn’t talked to them in a few hours. Hell, I wouldn’t have been concerned if I hadn’t talked to them for months.

Now, I have a friend that has gone offline for a couple of days, and I find myself wondering if he’s still alive. Now, I should point out that this isn’t a few days without hearing from him, this is a few hours after he was disconnected. Is this a healthy level of connection? In the years to come, we are going to continue to build more and more of these connections. Is it a good thing?

2011 is my year of connection and growth. I plan to spend this year going out and connecting with new people. Yet, now I am looking at the level of connectivity that we have, and am thinking to myself? Is it too much? We need to draw a proverbial line in the sand before we find ourselves literal sharing thoughts instantly across a network of neural implants, like some kind of proto-cybermen.

Not that I’m complaining too much. I’m looking forward to the day when I can just project my thoughts into the heads of the entire planet. It’ll save me a lot of time to not have to convert them into coherent words.

How connected are you? Are you a cyber-junkie like me, carrying around at least 2 net ready devices at any given time, or do you know how to put it all down and take a break once in a while?