I guess we can thank technology once again for changing the way we live and choose to socialize or not. Now that we are into the second decade of the twenty-first century, our connections to the digital world may be even greater than we think. Take partying for example. For some of my friends in college and years beyond (today’s twenty-first century parents), this was a daily preoccupation or, in some cases, a full time vocation. What a great opportunity to hone your socialization and networking skills! Of course, the down side was that you were not improving those other critical skills such as studying and going to classes (doesn’t seem to be as much a necessity any more with online access, etc.)
With more social media and and online events at your fingertips, today’s social scene for most young adults doesn’t involve going to someone’s home, apartment or back yard. It just seems much easier and less expensive to be part of it all remotely? Thankfully, depending on your personal point of view, the local pub or other public meeting places still endure as social scenes for many millenials. Maybe Starbucks realized this social phenomenon was occurring much sooner than most.
Even the social lives of high school seniors seems to have been dramatically altered. In 2014, the number of seniors who had never attended a party at someone’s home increased to 41.3%, down from 11.6% in 1987. So maybe the “medium is the message” after all. But I am not so sure that this is what Marshall McLuhan really meant in terms of how social media is being used in the twenty-first century. What is the message?