Anti-Social Dependence


The school was abuzz with word of a new app: House Party. Intrigued and confused by the vague descriptions and hype surrounding the app, I decided the best course of action was to download and try it for myself. Once the download finished, I added a few people from my contacts list, and right away, someone requested to chat with me. After popping up on the screen, that person was then joined by two other people as I was enthralled in a four person video chat. The spontaneous and uncontrollable nature of the chat was near shocking, and soon, eight people, a few of which I didn’t even know, were all participating in a conglomerate video chat.

With this app, anyone can come and go and join any video chat that is happening, as long as they’re “friends” with at least one of the participating people in the chat. This synthesizes an odd collection of loosely associated people in direct, personal video communication. The instant gratification of such a spontaneous video chat gives the app an incredibly addictive nature, and this can be gleaned after only a few minutes of use. The urge to use the app and stay in chats is overwhelmingly compelling, and this reflects a larger problem.

Nearly everyone participating in social media has an addiction. It can be very hard to deny and resist the urge to open apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, as notifications pile up and relentless buzzing continues. And it’s not even just the notifications; the simple urge to see the latest posts and stories on these apps can be tantamount to near drug addiction.

So, the addition of another app and network certainly does not help the relentless urge to check and check and refresh and refresh. With House Party, there is an overwhelming urge to check the app, and this is only compounded by the urge to stay on the app, throwing an unstoppable wrench in the gear of productivity. The app also provides a sense of community and social interaction, an almost falsified one. This provides an amount of comfort and eases loneliness experienced while at home alone.

In this, I see and warn against the danger of such “social” tools. Interaction is integral to human development, but so is time spent alone and time spent being productive. The trend of attachment to phones and social networks in general can be seen as increasing interaction, but certainly not as increasing personal interaction. Right now, people are sacrificing a few personal relationships for countless meaningless electronic relationships. As the urge to join these networks increases, one most look at the time devotions and personal detachment attached to each new app and trend.