Are you connected?  Let’s play a game.  Try naming five people, peers of yours, who are not connected to a social media site such as Facebook.

Too tough?  How about three?  How about one?

If you’re still stuck at one, you surely are not alone.  Social media is on the rise and its ceiling is nowhere in site, making some believe our generation is the most connected and yet most isolated ever.

Dr. Kurt C. Schlichting, professor of Sociology at Fairfield University, describes the rise of social media as happening within a “nanominute” of history.

“I’m stunned,” said Schlichting, “Because it’s happened so quickly, I don’t think that we realize how profoundly it may have changed interactions in society.”

Students at Fairfield are very much aware of these societal changes, however.

Sophomore Pierelle Eppie, ’14, believes Facebook has become a detriment towards the relationships we build as students.

“It ruins the personal aspects of relationships,” said Eppie.

Schlichting agrees, describing social media as facilitating a “diminishing intimacy” in our interpersonal relationships. In an unscientific study, polling 38 Fairfield University students, ages 18-22, 60 percent of students indicated that social media might be harmful to their romantic life.

That being said, the majority of Fairfield students say they are happy with where we stand as a generation.

The same poll showed over 3/4 of students say they are happy with the way technology has created a culture of connectivity for our generation.

“I’m not sure we really realize how dramatic this change is,” says Schlichting. “It changes the nature of relationships between individuals.”

And relationships have certainly changed.  Although college students may be the overwhelming minority, social media has helped grow and give rise to online dating communities.

Still, websites such as datemyschool.com, cater specifically to college students, and according to a Yahoo.com article from Feb. 14, datemyschool.com “is now the largest college dating website ever.”

Although Shreshth Dugar, marketing director of datemyschool.com, boasts that the website’s lifetime membership is nearing 100,000 members, only one member is registered to Fairfield University.

According to poll results, this does not come as a surprise.  In response to the question, “Have you used, plan to use, or are currently using an online dating site”? all but one student answered “No”.

Schlichting believes that this is a result of living in a college atmosphere where it is easier for students to meet new men and women with out any outside aid, predicting these numbers may change in the years that come after college.

Nevertheless, Emma Lasch ’15, is not convinced by Schlichting’s prediction.

“I just think it’s weird to start off online,” says Lasch. “I think that it’s more real to meet someone and start contact that way.”

Junior Frank Aquino, agrees, saying, “I think social media is a way to continue a conversation with someone. It’s not really a way to meet people.”

And the majority of students agree with Aquino, with only one student saying they “never” look up a person on Facebook, after meeting them in person.

Technology and social media have connected our generation in an unprecedented way, but is this a positive or negative thing?

“It’s too early to tell,” says Schlichting, “[but] it seems that it is creating substantial substative social change.”

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