We are hyperconnected. The hyper side of things, naturally, refers to the quantity of connections, not their quality. Indeed, we are connected to more people than ever before, but we don’t really know how well connected we are to each of them.
It is easy to see that our brains haven’t evolved at a the same rate our technology has: we simply can’t cope with the countless conversations we could physically be holding at the same time as far as our messaging applications are concerned. Unable to accept our shortcomings, we fill the gap with more technology: mass updates, auto-responders, reaction buttons, pre-programmed bots, etc.
Honestly, I don’t think it is a bad thing to be able to connect at a superficial level with more people than ever before. On the contrary, I believe this can be a great way to develop future high-quality connections: the more information we have the more likely it is that we will get better information, and the more people we know, the more likely we’ll be to find the best people for us. Humans that would have never heard from us now get a glimpse into who we are, and so can we form a general idea of who they are. There is little wrong and there is a lot of right in this aspect of our modern society: we can reach further than ever.
However, the caveat is that we can’t really stretch further than ever. We can still hold the same quantity of conversations, we can still have the same number of close friends, we can still only keep in touch properly with the same amount of people. When we try — for all the good reasons — to form meaningful relationships with more people than we physically can, then we become overstretched, and the quality of our connections suffers.
If nothing is done about it, it follows that the best connections break, and since no new high-quality connections are being created, we might wind up hyperconnected to a network that is broader only because it is also shallower. The result is mediocre relationships, and mediocre relationships are a tragedy. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to develop the real…