Yesterday I was sitting poolside in Sarasota, Florida at a hotel. I noticed that six teenagers who were either friends or relatives plopped themselves in chaise lounges across from me. Instead of conversing or having any social interaction with each other, they immediately whipped out their smart phones and started talking to, texting, e-mailing or twitting people who for all I know could have been on the other side of the planet. This behavior did not change for the next hour and they left having barely grunted to each other a few times during their entire stay. This incident is in no way unusual. Indeed, I have observed that more and more people, including older adults are spending more and more of their waking hours in equally asocial contact through various forms of so-called "social media".
These people remind me of the Solarians from Asimov's Foundation series, who were so averse to face-to-face interaction that they eventually evolved into hermaphrodites so that even for procreation, they would not have to come into physical contact with other Solarians. We are well on our way to creating a generation of totally unsocialized beings who are going to have great difficulty with any true interpersonal relationships. We are instead creating people who are anti-social. Instead of spending most of their time socializing in person, they are wasting their time in faceless interactions via Facebook, Twitter, and the other myriad of "pseudocommunities" they might belong to. These people send innumerable messages which are devoid of any worthwhile content (mostly advising other people of the wonderful things they are doing or buying, as if the other people really cared) and more often than not are hurtful. Many things which are e-mailed, posted, or twitted would never see the light of day if they had to be delivered face-to-face.
While Facebook, Twitter, and multiple other "social media" try to pass themselves off as a vital tool for socialization, they are merely trying to make as much money as possible for their creators and investors. It is no accident that their mantra is to monetize the hapless souls who join their communities. They are trying to do this by making it easier for someone to sell things to their members.
Just to show how ridiculous the whole concept of Facebook is let me describe a conversation with an acquaintance of mine. She proudly told me that her daughter had over 3000 "Friends" on Facebook. She obviously was quite proud of this fact and felt that her daughter must be a very special person to reach this lofty level. Her daughter is actually a self-centered brat who has very few real friends, When I told her that it was impossible for anyone to even have 3000 passing acquaintances much less 3000 true "friends". That if someone had five really good friends in their entire lifetime, they were very lucky, She became quite defensive and even antagonistic and told me I did not understand what a "Friend" was. I guess the word "Friend" like most other things has been drastically devalued. We can thank "social media" for this.