How will the next wave of new technology bring people closer together? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
There arethat validate the idea that love and support, real connection, and the ability to feel authentic and empowered are human needs which allow us to become our best selves. Right now we’re experiencing a A by health insurer Cigna found that nearly half of Americans report feeling alone or left out all the time, and estimated that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
While social media use wasn’t the only contributor to loneliness cited in the study, it was notable among them. This “” refers to the idea that while social media has given us the means to connect with hundreds of people, it doesn’t support real connection. Instead, we use social media to make outward-facing bids for attention and then judge our worth by the number of likes and hits. Rather than make good on its promise of authentic interactions, social media can contribute to feelings of distance and isolation.
Texting is another example of a communication technology that has become ubiquitous but falls short when it comes to nurturing our most important relationships. Texting is about speed, brevity, and efficiency. A huge part of our day-to-day interaction takes place in texts, but tone, emotion, and context – which help provide that vital “emotionally nutritious” communication – are absent. We might feel like we’re talking, but we’re really just typing.
When Michal and I started our family, the limitations of social media and other available communication tools really began to affect us personally. Reading the research on happiness and wanting to feel genuinely closer to our own families was the genesis of Marco Polo. Knowing that our industry had the technical capabilities down, it was time to build a product that could truly offer a way to have deep, authentic relationships with loved ones. We wanted to engineer a platform that would help people, one-on-one and in groups, feel closer to each other and be part of each other’s day in a way that was honest, genuine, and mutually supportive.
We nowfor exactly this purpose. As we bring millions of people together, we’re also working to get research-based findings about how the app improves social health by connecting people in emotionally nutritious ways.
I see exciting shifts starting to happen across other communication platforms too. I was encouraged bysuggesting that Instagram is experimenting with hiding the number of likes a post gets from everyone but the person who posted it. There have also that Twitter is considering changes in the way they report engagement on the site. These are indicators that others in the tech community agree that we can do more to strengthen the bonds of connection and help battle the loneliness epidemic.
As daunting as the research surrounding loneliness can seem, I’m convinced that with the help of our technology superpowers, we’ll soon be able to stop worrying about how hard it is to stay in touch and instead, just be in touch. Humans are, after all, biologically wired to connect. It’s only reasonable that our technology should do the same.
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