June 9th, 2009

In my recent article on tech-inspired “camp” events, I tried to find a link between increased internet socializing and a drive to meet up with others in real life. As more and more of our interactions with friends and acquaintances take place online through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, wouldn’t it make sense that the same people who spend the most time communicating from behind a keyboard are the ones driven to make up for it by arranging flesh and blood conferences? I think so.

Well apparently us technophiles aren’t alone in needing some real-world contact. According to The New York Times a new epidemic has hit high schools: rampant hugging. Instead of greeting each other verbally, friends of both genders are wrapping their arms around their buddies and squeezing. “No hi, no smile, no wave, no high-five — just the hug.” The horror! Needless to say, administrators are worried about sexual harassment, clogged hallways, and peer pressure. After all, all the cool kids are doing it. Seriously.

Like one mother quoted in the article, I can’t help but see a link between hugging and social network use. “Maybe it’s because all these kids do is text and go on Facebook so they don’t even have human contact anymore,” she chides. What a luddite (i.e. old person) thing to say. Still, if we take physicality out of one type of socializing, doesn’t it make sense it would crop up in another? As the article points out, Facebook even perpetuates the hug-idemic, with its “applications allowing friends to send hugs have tens of thousands of fans.” What that implies to me: social media is bringing us all closer together, making us more willing to breech personal boundaries.

Sounds so warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m sure there’s something depressing to uncover about the human condition in there somewhere. In the meantime, find a breathing body and HUG HUG HUG!

Tags: social networking

7 Responses to “Hugging in the age of Facebook”

  1. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuddle_party

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Silly boy, you just want to GO to a cuddle party.

  3. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    Nuh uh. I just want to cuddle.

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    With me? Then come home and cuddle, silly.

  5. Tim Says:

    I miss hugs. I hugged all the time back home. Since I moved to London I know no one I can depend on for hugs when I need them.
    Hugs are essential!!

  6. soulofaqua Says:

    This article makes me wanna hug Cherrie… 9 days… 9 days from now..

  7. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Sending you internet hugs!

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