In this 21St Century, the use of technology has become a central part of the lives of almost all individuals. Particularly, the use of social media is step by step changing the way people communicate, interact and additionally the ability to have strong interpersonal bonds. Biologically, the continuous use of social media in our interactions is affecting the launch of endorphins hormone from the brain which determines the strength of relationships. Compared to a few centuries ago, this high-speed world seems to be a chance to relations and is seen to be hurting people’s lives instead of improving it. In fact, as a result of it, people are forced to multitask as they are seeking for to fulfill the many social interaction requirements that have increased with more social media. And apart from hurting relationships through multitasking, the spread of fake information is increasingly affecting the people’s lives negatively.

Konnikova (2014) suggests that the cognitive limit number that each person can hold between 150 to 250 stable relationships. This alludes to the fact that beyond that, the connections will be unstable and it would be impossible. This Dunbar number remains stable even in this current high-speed lives and also gives rise to the rule of three. Konnikova notes

When researchers tried to determine whether virtual networks increase our strong ties as well as our weak ones, they found that, for now, the essential Dunbar number, a hundred and fifty, has remained constant (2014).

This rule suggests that people have three layers of relationships notably, a level of 50 known friends who would be called maybe in a big party, another layer of 15 close friends and the final segment of 5 intimate friends. This three layers typically take up 60% of one’s time and resources such that people have deep connections and strong bonds. The Dunbar number of 150 can, therefore, be sustained although people keep changing from one layer to another and can eventually fall out. Apparently, social media is threatening this stability because through the virtual interactions the circle keeps growing. As an individual seeks to maintain contact with the twitter and Facebook friends, the resources used in the first three layers shift from 60% to 40 percent which translates to very superficial relationships even with the intimate friends (Konnikova 2014). Additionally, a person realizes they are unable to keep up the pace and adds new friends seeking to feel the void of desiring deeper relationships. That explains why a person would be in the house and not communicating with the members but chatting with virtual friends.

Apparently, social media friendships have limitations to the extents they can get especially if they remain virtual with no face to face contacts. The hormone endorphins produced by the brain is responsible for the emotional bonding that occurs between people. Its production is enhanced by a touch no matter how mild it is, the release of endorphins is expected. Dunbar suggested that social media allows people to use more and more words that are easy to come by since no physical meeting is required. However, a sense of touch which enhances relationships demands meeting whose resource needs at times are too high. Thus, social media denies people an opportunity to develop strong bonds and reduces the effectiveness of interpersonal relationships. Since social media is a part of people’s lives, for durable relationships to exist, then both physical meetings and social media should work together. Also, exposure to social media at a young age denies the person an opportunity to develop social skills which are genetic but learned in social circles. Konnikova notes

We learn how we are and aren’t supposed to act by observing others and then having opportunities to act out our observations ourselves. We aren’t born with full social awareness, and Dunbar fears that too much virtual interaction may subvert that education (2014).

Sadly, teenagers who spend much time in social media and have families that thrive in it, are likely to have many friends but thinly deep relationships.

This negative shift of events was not so a few decades ago when our parents were children. The families valued interpersonal relationships such that in homes use of mobile gadgets was limited and people had more family time. It seemed wrong for a person to use their phones in the company of others especially family or close friends or dinner time. That allowed strong bonds such that when a person was confronted with life difficulties, they had solid social support that would help them navigate such murky waters. Technology use was thus limited and was mostly used to enhance the relationships of already known friends and not to create new friends’ network. Because of this change, people are forced to multitask to keep up with the circles. Use of phones for example and talking with a person reduces the efficiency of the communication and can affect the attention. Madden states

People do not realize the deficiency in learning caused by media multitasking (p. 138).

When individuals fail to receive attention as they converse that makes them to feel unimportant and not valued such that they may not be able to talk freely or share profound matters of the heart. Such superficial relationships are not strong enough to help people weather the difficulties and challenges that may emerge or even connect deeply in the happy moments. In fact, the result of multitasking is inefficiencies created and superficial relationships that when done consistently ruins relationships.

The continuous use of social media is also affecting the nerves and resulting in the creation of new nerves and a new ‘brain’ where images are replacing language (Restak 1). People prefer to pass their messages through videos and pictures such that communication is hindered as people seek to communicate more in the most straightforward way and in the shortest time possible. Also, the new breed of citizens are impatience in communication such that once a person gets news, they propagate them without verifying the credibility of the source. That was the case with the fake news about the presidential results in the US that some suggested that Clinton had won the elections and others, Trump. However, when it was announced differently, these fans felt devastated and shortchanged affecting their relationships with peers and friends since they had believed results that favored their candidate (Allcott and Gentzkow 1). Lack of patience and proper communication even intimate romantic relationships as people lack adequate problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Thus, the adverse outcomes become dire.

In conclusion, social media and other technological advances in communications seem to have done more harm than good given that relationships are not as strong as they used to be. More conflicts are likely to prevail in romantic relationships when partners lack proper social and communication skills. Multitasking is on the rise and its hurting relationships through deficiencies and reduced attention. Finally, this high-speed world through social media is leading to more friendships networks but superficial relationships and thus reducing the quality of human interactions. There is a need for more research on how the possibility of survival without close and intimate friends that demands resources that are gradually getting scarce.

Works Cited

Allcott, Hunt, and Matthew Gentzkow. Social media and fake news in the 2016 election. No. w23089. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2017.

Konnikova, Maria. “The Limits of Friendship.” The New Yorker 7 (2014).

Madden, Kaesha, “Phone Use and Attention: A Multitasking Study” (2017). Celebrating Scholarship & Creativity Day. 138.

Restak, Richard. “The new brain: How the modern age is rewiring your mind.” (2003). 10

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