Communities and Social Media

How social media is facilitating hyper-personal communication and how this can be damaging to physical skills and relationships, yet also the mental wellbeing of individuals.

Hyper-personal communication refers to communication instigated by the internet, allowing people to connect in an extremely personal and even intimate manner. It explores the idea that individuals begin to idealize these online relationships, especially as they develop a confidence from interacting from the safety of behind a screen. However, this form of communication is having a dramatic negative impact, especially on our younger generations, with hyper-personal relationships and anonymity facilitating cyberbullying. In this paper I explore the development of hyper-personal communication as social media has sky-rocketed in popularity, whilst also looking into how online relationships and anonymity are have a damaging effect on mental well-being and social groups. Extending on this, I will look specifically into a young age bracket, and the effect hyper-personal communication is having on their development of face-to-face interaction skills.

As the internet began the flourish in the late 1990’s, the idea and processes of communication started to be re-moulded, as the world began to see a new way of perceiving and performing communication through the internet. However, prior to this time, communication via any form of computer technology – especially the internet – was seen as completely unnatural and was referred to as being ‘impersonal’, disregarding whatever the nature of the message may be (Cigelske, 2017). It was further described as the emotionless form of communication, painting it in a formal yet somewhat cold way to get a message from A to B, and reflecting on these statements in our current context, is this actually true? We praise the internet in every aspect of our lives, as our day-to-day activities are driven by technology – especially the way we communicate. However, it must be recognised how our ever-changing technology and social media usage is facilitating a new wave of hyper-personal communication, and in the long run, this may actually be damaging to both physical relationships and face-to-face communication, but also the mental wellbeing of individuals. 

Hyper-personal communication can be defined as communication instigated through computer technologies and the internet that connects people together in an extremely personal and even intimate manner. Expanding on this, this particular form of communication refers to the idea that individuals begin to glorify and idealize these interactions and connections, even though they are unable to interpret non-verbal and verbal aspects which would otherwise be readily available in a physical interaction (Chandler, Munday, 2020). As the concept of hyper-personal communication began to formulate in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, what actually fell under this umbrella term were simplistic actions such as over-exaggerated messages on online spaces, connecting online with strangers and even the idea that individuals were able to consider their responses for an extensive period of time, instead of requiring an almost instant response much like in a face-to-face interaction.

In a study conducted by Joseph Walther in 1992, he had already concluded that hyper-personal communication actually facilitated more desirable social interactions and created more desirable relationships than found in face-to-face interactions (Walther, 1992). Bringing these concepts and ideas into our current modern-day context, hyper-personal communication is only more easily identifiable and relevant, especially in conjunction with the rise of social media. As further research into this concept was conducted, alongside the development of technology and social media sites, a new way of looking at this form of communication arose, as hyper-personal began to be referred to as the idea that individuals in our current societies are using their technology devices as a somewhat safety barrier, as they can communicate in ways and say things online that they wouldn’t necessarily say in a physical, face to face situation (Cigelske, 2018). As more and more individuals across the globe are gaining access to not only the internet, but more importantly, social media sites and applications in a completely mobile fashion, it can’t be argued that interpersonal relationships are becoming more regulated by social media usage. As technology and social media use increases, it can be seen that the need for physical interactions decreases, and that heavy users even tend to isolate themselves physically from social interactions as they feel that they are still connected through social media (Donlevie, 2018). Taking this into consideration, it must be questioned whether or not these said relationships that are purely driven by social media connection are authentic or not, as Erving Goffman concluded that geographical proximity, required for in person interactions, and the absence of non-verbal and verbal mannerisms hinders the authenticity of a relationship, yet also impedes the development of an individual’s interpersonal skills (Goffman, 1959). By reflecting on the development of the internet throughout history, and how this coincides with the idea of hyper-personal relationships, it is clear to see how this concept has only become more relevant and rampant in our technology-crazed societies. 

When looking so deeply into the concept of hyper-personal communication, one of the strongest aspects to consider is the idea of online anonymity, especially within social media usage. An interesting way to reflect on online anonymity in regard to its social use, can be instigated by a particular quote in a paper by Thais Sardá, Simone Natale, Nikos Sotirakopoulos and Mark Manoghan from 2019. They argue that social media anonymity can be viewed metaphorically as a ‘double-edged sword’, as it “can be used to harm; but on the other hand, it is an instrument for self-defence” (Sardá, Natale, Sotirakopoulos, Monaghan, 2019, paragraph 9). Considering this way of looking at online anonymity in our current context, we can interpret the idea of ‘self-defence’ as the ability online users have to create an extremely minimal online presence through their privacy settings. Majority of social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, allow users to alter their settings to make their accounts more ‘private’, in regard to only allowing certain, approved individuals to be able to see certain parts or even the full extent of their profile. On a broad spectrum, this is predominantly used a safety tool, as users aim to protect themselves from strangers wanting to view or poach their personal information. However, looking deeper into the matter, whilst also considering the harmful edge of anonymity, users are relying on said privacy settings to protect themselves from strangers and potential emotional or even physical harm, as stronger privacy settings have been found by users who are more fearful (Cho, Li, Goh, 2020).

Although, in saying this, we must ask ourselves; is our new, normalized hyper-personal nature online only allowing ourselves to become targeted? Online validation has become a dominant driving force of how we behave on social media, as we all strive for views, likes, shares and comments across all platforms imaginable. As the desire for said validation only increases, the hyper-personal communication theory can also describe our behaviours towards strangers online, as we reach further out of our social circles for validation. We can connect with strangers across the globe with just the click of a button, allowing them to see into our lives through our posting habits, and can even connect with them directly and on a deeper scale through messaging services within social media platforms. As mentioned throughout, hyper-personal communication can refer to the idea that individuals feel more comfortable communicating from behind their screens than they are in a face-to-face situation, and when viewing in conjunction with use of anonymity as a harmful tool, it’s easy to draw the connection. The drastic rise of social media usage has seen correlated rise in online bullying and abuse in every sense of the terms, as majority of platforms not only allow users to interact in a somewhat anonymous fashion, but to even create fake profiles, to help hide their identities whilst targeting others (Barlett, DeWitt, Maronna, Johnson, 2018). Studies have even looked into the idea of perpetrators using a combination of anonymity and fake online profiles with hyper-personal communication to formulate idealistic relationships with others online. As the victims are usually unaware that they are potential victims, and the perpetrator being somewhat unconcerned by the outcomes of their actions, the screens they are divided by acts as a facilitator for behaviour that would otherwise not be tolerated if witnessed in a physical interaction, hence highlighting the opportunity for inauthenticity within online relationships (Nesi, Choukas-Bradley, Prinstein, 2018). Anonymity can be seen in varying manners in regard to online behaviour, however, when looking at the role it plays in combination with hyper-personal communication, it is clear to see the potential damage it can do to individuals and their social groups.

It is clear that the rise of hyper-personal communication due to the infiltration of social media is apparent across the majority of generations, from babies to grandparents, technology has dramatically changed the way we all coexist. However, looking into such depth into these matters, it is important to source the age bracket in which this issue is having the largest impact, and it is clear that it is within the ‘adolescent’ range. A study conducted within a paper written by Michelle O’Reilly, Nisha Dogra and Natasha Whiteman in 2018 looked into the impact social media is having on wellbeing and social groups in 11-to-18-year old’s, where they were able to draw strong conclusions on how social media is a genuine threat to their social circles and mental health, but also their physical interpersonal skills. The three main ideas they uncovered were that social media usage is having a clear negative impact on mood and mental wellbeing, that these platforms instigated cyber-bulling and also that these platforms had an addictive aspect to them (O’Reilly, Dogra, Whiteman, 2018). These three ideas coincide and cooperate with each other, whilst showing that even though social media usage can cause negative outcomes, it can still be an addiction and even a symbol of conformity within this age bracket, as they strive for validation and to simply fit in.

However, it must be noted that this obsession with not only social media, but technology on a broader spectrum, is all this particular age bracket has really known. They’ve grown up in a world completely overrun by technology in every aspect of their lives, hence creating a sense of dependency on certain aspects of technology such as social media in their day to day lives. As this dependency is only increasing, their true sense of face-to-face communication becomes somewhat clouded, as it has been seen within this 11- to 18-year-old age bracket that technological communication is preferable, for the primary reason that they are able to consider and plan their responses thoroughly (Agrawal, 2017). It must be noted that this idea can actually be viewed in a positive sense, as they can assess the repercussions of what they respond and therefore present themselves with their best foot forward. It also allows for youths to better mentally prepare themselves for potential situations that some would find extremely stressful in a face-to-face manner, such as confrontation, approaching a stranger with romantic intent or even resigning from a job. Although, in saying this, this can also be viewed as a negative, reflecting on how hyper-personal communication through social media platforms is only encouraging confidence behind a screen, and that this generation is growing distant from the vulnerability, mistakes and emotions that come with facing said situations in person. Building on this idea, as these teens are striving for online validation across popular social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, researchers have questioned the idea of quantity versus quality in regard to online and offline relationships. As the desire for more likes, comments and views increases, it has been seen that this age bracket in particular are more likely to reach out to outer social circles and even strangers online, as they are more concerned with the number of relationships they have, not necessarily the authenticity and quality of the relationship (Agrawal, 2017). Reflecting on all of this, there is an aspect of concern for our future generations being raised in this technology-crazed society, as there is only potential for matters to get worse.

Hyper-personal communication is certainly not a new concept, however, the way in which we interpret the term has definitely changed over time with the rise of technology and our increased usage of social media. Hyper-personal communication explores how we interact with others online, describing the way in which we feel safer behind our screens, allowing us to connect in an idealistic way with our social groups but also with strangers. However, as mentioned throughout, this intense, technologically driven level of communication can be damaging to social groups and mental well-being, but also hindering physical interpersonal skills. It can be agreed that the internet has allowed us to achieve so many incredible things, however, we must take a step back and assess the authenticity of our online relationships and the damaging impact it is having on our younger generations. 


Agrawal, A. J. (2017, May 4). Millennials are struggling with face-to-face communication: Here’s why. Forbes.

Barlett, C. P., DeWitt, C. C., Maronna, B. & Johnson, K. (2018). Social media use as a tool to facilitate or reduce cyberbullying perpetration: A review focusing on anonymous and non-anonymous social media platforms. Violence and Gender, 5(3), 147-152.

Chandler, D. & Munday, R. (2020). A dictionary of media and communication (3rd ed.). 

Oxford University Press Inc. ?docID=6121526#

Cho, H., Li, P. & Goh, Z. H. (2020). Privacy risks, emotions, and social media: A coping model of online privacy. ACM Transactions on Computer – Human Interaction, 27(6), 1-22.

Cigelske, T. (2017, September 23). Let’s get hyperpersonal. Cigelske Medium.

Cigelske, T. (2018). The highest form of like: Snapchat, college students and hyperpersonal communication [Master’s thesis, Marquette University]. E-Publications@Marquette.

Donlevie, K. (2018). Screen time versus face time: How social media usage affects time spent face to face [Master’s thesis, Skidmore College]. Creative matter.

Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life (1st ed.). Doubleday Anchor Books, New York. intro.pdf

Nesi, J., Choukas-Bradley, S. & Prinstein, M. J. (2018). Transformation of adolescent peer relations in the social media context: Part 2 – Application to peer group processes and future directions for research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 21(1), 295-319.

O’Reilly, M., Dogra, N. & Whiteman, N. (2018). Is social media bad for mental health and wellbeing? Exploring the perspectives of adolescents. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23(4), 601-613.

Sardá, T., Natale, S., Sotiakopoulos, N. & Monaghan, M. (2019). Understanding online anonymity. Media, Culture & Society, 41(4), 557-564. 0163443719842074

Walther, J. B. (1992). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective. Communication Research, 19(1), 52-90. 009365092019001003

23 thoughts on “How social media is facilitating hyper-personal communication and how this can be damaging to physical skills and relationships, yet also the mental wellbeing of individuals.

  1. Hi Caitlin,
    Thanks for bringing awareness towards the negative side of social media! Not everyone likes being the devil’s advocate, so reading this paper was very refreshing and interesting.

    You mentioned online validation, and it immediately made me think of the unrealistic portrayal of living standards and how people mostly ONLY enjoy seeing that kind of content; to have an “aesthetic perfect feed” to gain views/likes/shares/comments as you stated as well.

    It is addictive to mindlessly scroll through social media, and it’s crazy to think that this type of addiction is normalized amongst adolescents. Which leads me to bring up the movie “The Social Dilemma” and I think it supports your article really well as the documentary revolves around Tech experts bringing awareness towards the alarming issue of dangerous human impact through social networking. If you have watched it, what are your thoughts on it?

  2. Hi Caitlin,

    Your paper was such an interesting read! It was refreshing to read about the negative aspects of social media that we don’t always consider.

    At the height of lockdown last year, I was working from home and felt the need to be always ‘switched on’. Although the affordances of social media are a great means for communication, it is necessary that we remain aware of the detrimental effects, so that the beneficial aspects aren’t outweighed.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on this topic – it was really enjoyable to read!


    1. Hi Rebecca, thank you for reading my paper! I’m glad you enjoyed it and feel refreshed by this different point of view, as I agree that it is important that we don’t forget that social media can have damaging effects. Glad you were able to reflect on how hyper-personal communication has played a role in your life, even with us all having to rely on social media and technology throughout the pandemic. Thanks again and best of luck! Caitlin

  3. Hi Caitlin,

    I very much enjoyed your paper; you raised some really interesting points.

    I was really intrigued by hyper-personal communication and how it is currently effecting individual’s mental health especially young teenagers. Younge teenagers these days are vastly unaware of how they can protect themselves online and the repercussions of their online activity on others and their future. As you mentioned social media use has led to the rise of online bullying can have major impacts on a young teenager and other individuals for that matter. In turn hyper-personal communication and online bullying can damage an individual a lot more than face to face bullying and communication. Social media and online communication between individuals, more importantly negative communication can dramatically affect a person’s self-esteem and wellbeing. I feel young teenagers are unaware of the impact that technology and social media platforms play in well-being and identity formation.

    Do you think in the current climate of COVID-19 that hyper-personal communication is bleeding into and taking over how people connect and communicate at work, due to having to work at home and lack of in person face-face interaction?

    1. Hi Mikayla! Thank you for taking the time out to read my paper and leaving a comment, very much appreciated! I definitely agree with the points you’ve mentioned regarding my paper and hyper-personal communication, especially in regards to young teenagers. I agree that they are blanketed by social media in recent times, as they navigate their way through the transition into high school and all that brings. In regards to COVID-19, we can’t deny that social media has stepped up to play a new role in the way we communicate with each other, as it allowed people to stay connected when they couldn’t connect in a physical manner. In saying this, I do believe that there were benefits to hyper-personal communication in this sense, however I stand firmly with the idea that the pandemic has led younger generations to have a growing dependency on social media and that it is important to educate our children about the potential harms hyper-personal communication can lead to.
      Have a lovely night and thanks again. Caitlin

  4. Hi Caitlin!
    What a well-written and very insightful piece of writing! I really enjoyed reading this and your arguments flowed very well. I’m glad this topic was written upon as I think this is very prevalent today as we are all reliant on social media.
    With Covid and the restrictions put in place, we certainly tend to rely on the internet and social media now more than ever to keep connected with friends and families. This definitely takes a toll on you as being isolated from people can be exceptionally damaging as you’ve mentioned.
    What resonated with me was when you talked about how certain people feel more comfortable communicating through digital means as opposed to face-to-face on issues than are vulnerable to them and I’ve certainly preferred doing this in the past.
    Younger kids today are on social media most of the time, either playing games or on Instagram and this is damaging as they spend most of their time in front of a computer screen which certainly takes a toll on an individual’s physical skills and relationships as they’re too busy forming relationships online (which is great) but they tend to neglect the relationships that are right in front of them as they’re surrounded by this social media ‘bubble’.
    I really enjoyed reading your paper. Well done! 🙂

    1. Hi Saranya!
      Thank you for taking the time to read my paper and leaving a comment. I agree with what you’ve said, especially regarding younger kids and their growing use of technology. Although I do agree that there are benefits for creating relationships online, for kids who are so young, it can be truly damaging to be interacting online with strangers and being exposed to inappropriate things. I do believe it is all about a level of understanding though, as we need to work towards educating younger generations on the impact screen time is having on their life beyond the screen, so they can understand that there are dangers behind the internet.
      Was lovely to hear from you about my paper, thanks again. Caitlin

  5. Hello Caitlin,

    Congratulations on a magnificent conference paper. It is superbly written, well researched and on a topic that is becoming far too prevalent (in my opinion) especially amongst the younger generations as you very well point out. I too am of an older generation that grew up without the internet and most interactions were on a face-to-face basis or by phone which still required immediate responses, unlike today’s correspondence on social media. I must admit to not really taking much note of the term ‘hyper-personal communication’ previously as I did not really understand its meaning but after reading your paper Caitlin I have a much better understanding and agree with your point of view completely.
    I hope that parents (like Emma) get a chance to read your paper and take on board the importance of encouraging their children to get out from behind their screens and engage with their communities at a face-to-face level so that technology doesn’t completely rule their lives. One of the simplest but most concise points you make is that technology has changed the way we all coexist across all generations and if we let it we could become far too dependent on technology. You have suggested that the younger generation, who have grown up knowing nothing else but surrounded by this technology, may have scarily already reached this point. I hope not.
    Thank you Caitlin for an intriguing and thought provoking paper on an extremely important topic.


    1. Hi Bernie! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper and leave such a thoughtful comment, really appreciate it.
      As I have mentioned through a number of my responses to comments I have received, it is extremely interesting for me to receive feedback which has a personal story and opinion behind it, as it is eye-opening to me how this particular concept can have an impact on different personality types and generations of people. I’m so glad to have introduced you to the term ‘hyper-personal communication’ and that you agree with the points I have made throughout my paper. Thank you again for your comment and wishing you the best of luck!

  6. Hey Caitlin,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper as I’ve never really heard of the concept of hyper-personal communication online, though it does make a lot of sense. I suppose I was just of the opinion that interactions online were simply lacking in intimacy because they were not face to face, but after reading your paper I tend to agree that in many cases they can be more personal. It’s definitely a concern that people are becoming more dependent on social media for their social interaction. On the one hand they are able to form these hyper-personal relationships online, but on the other hand in doing so they are stunting their ability to socialise face to face. I’d be interested to hear if you think there is something intrinsically valuable about face to face communication between people? And do you think that it is something that we will ever be able to completely replace with online interactions?

    I think the concepts of hyper-personal communication and anonymity online really relate to my paper also. In my essay I discuss how the incel (involuntary celibate) community radicalises its members with misogynistic ideology. In many ways, members of the incel community are involved in hyper-personal communication as they share intimate details about their lives under the guise of anonymity. Being anonymous also allows them to express extremely toxic beliefs that they may not be willing to share in their physical community out of fear of rejection. If you’d like to have a look at my paper here’s the link:


    1. Hi Cameron, thank you for reading my paper! And glad to hear that I have introduced you to this concept and you have formulated a clear opinion!
      Regarding your question, I do truly believe that there is intrinsic value to face to face communication, including flow and ease, but also as I mentioned in my paper, the opportunity to be raw and make mistakes in which you can learn from. I like to consider the value of face to face communication by assessing different emotions and communications with others, such as having a fight or turning to someone for advice, and imagining them only being performed from behind a screen. In my opinion, communicating in said situations in a physical manner allows for body language, facial expressions and other non-verbal and verbal cues, which I believe are crucial aspects in which online interactions may attempt to replicate – but will never achieve the reality of. So, in saying this I think we must continue to educate younger generations and hold higher value on face to face communication, as I don’t believe that our online communication space can replace physical interaction.
      I will definitely have a look into your paper as it sounds like hyper-personal communication can play a role into your thesis, and sounds like an interesting approach! Thanks again for leaving a comment and best of luck!

      1. Hey Caitlin,

        I completely agree with you about the intrinsic value of face-to-face interactions, they just can’t be replicated completely with digital interactions. Although social media can be good for keeping people connected it really should only be used as a supplement for physical connection instead of a complete replacement. I tend to think that the best way to achieve this is through educating individuals about the dangers involved with an over-reliance on social media instead of expecting any of the social media companies to take steps to make their platforms less addictive. What do you think?


        1. Hi Cameron, very glad to hear from you again!
          I completely agree with everyone you’ve mentioned here, especially as we’ve have manoeuvred through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is undeniable that that social media has allowed us all to stay connected during a time where we weren’t able to physically connect. Regarding education verses the platforms themselves needing to change – I completely agree! I believe that education about screen use and social media is crucial for our younger, school-aged generations, especially after the pandemic. It’s definitely an area we are giving more thought towards, even considering things such as Apple’s introduction of ‘screen time’, introducing ‘downtime’ and limits on applications and time spent using the device. Nonetheless, much like everything in our modern technology-crazed world at the moment, I completely agree that education is the way to go.
          Have a lovely night, Caitlin

  7. Hey Caitlin!

    I very much enjoyed your paper. You wrote on a very interesting topic and used well-thought arguments. I agree with most of your comments but think that the shift to an online world is inevitable and we need to start teaching young ages how to communicate efficiently in physical and online settings. Despite extended use of social media potentially tarnishing physical communication skills, I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives. For example, the recent pandemic has caused children and teenagers all over the world to isolate themselves away from their friends. Without the ability to communicate online there would be almost no way for them to communicate with one another. With social media, they were able to engage in personal communication, practice social skills and manage their personal wellbeing.

    However, thank you very much for an interesting read. I wrote about the benefits of social media in an educational sense, especially through this pandemic. It would be amazing if you could let me know your thoughts!

    1. Hi Matthew, firstly, thank you for taking the time to read my paper!
      Look, I will have to be honest and agree with you that there are countless amounts of obvious benefits from social media, these especially being highlighted by the current global COVID-19 pandemic. I agree that this shift to an online world was inevitable, however, I do feel as if we are teaching our younger generations how to communicate through a screen-biased perspective, and that we need to have a clear educational drive on physical connections and communication skills for these younger generations. I do believe that this is obviously hard with current lockdowns, and that of course it is undeniable that social media has played such an important and beneficial role for all of us during this pandemic, however, we must look past this and place value back onto the development and execution of face to face communication skills.
      Thanks again for leaving a comment and good luck!

  8. Hi Caitlin,
    I enjoyed reading through your paper. Social media is such a new phenomenon, and there’s still so much to learn in terms of how it affects interpersonal relationships and so forth. In response to your quote: “Hyper-personal began to be referred to as the idea that individuals in our current societies are using their technology devices as a somewhat safety barrier … (Cigelske, 2018).” I can affirm that some anxious individuals prefer computer mediated communication because it offers that ‘safety barrier’ you speak of and because it offers the person the ability to give a more ‘edited’ version of themselves and a selective self-presentation.
    The idea of having an anonymity online which gives users a double-edge sword is an interesting one. Personally, I see this kind of anonymity fading as mainstream sites like Facebook and Instagram takeover, which I think encourage self-branding and the establishing of one’s identity. But, regardless, I agree with your main argument about hyper personal communications hindering authentic interactions.
    I think that social media is a double-edged sword for many reasons: connecting but also disconnecting individuals in various ways; offering the anonymity to bully someone but also anonymity to circumvent yourself being bullied. But I fully agree with your thesis and its theory; today we can see an abundance of circumstantial evidence that denotes the decline of meaningful interactions and relationships, especially in younger people.

    1. Hi Rhys, thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper!
      I am really interested by you referring to social media as a whole as being a double-edge sword, and honestly I’d have to completely agree with your reasoning. But in saying this, in my opinion, those who are turning to anonymity to protect themselves must have experienced bullying through someone else who utilised anonymity for this wrong reason. I also agree that platforms, especially Instagram, are turning into a new world of self-branding and even somewhat self-obsession, but this in itself can always just be a facade, this being where hyper-personal communication can come into play and we begin to lose our sense of what is real and not in this online space. I have received multiple comments addressing how people believe that the so-called ‘safety barrier’ is crucial for some individuals who rely on social media to freely communicate, and I agree that social media creates an amazing space for those who are anxious and struggle with face-to-face communication. However, I do just express my concerns for the younger generations, as you mentioned, and whether or not they are losing the ability to process cues and communicate in a physical sense.
      Thanks again for leaving a comment and best of luck!

  9. Hi Caitlin!
    I loved reading your paper. With your mention of comfort behind the screen I have realised that I know so many people who would rather talk via social media, especially on topics they find hard to discuss. However, I personally still love meeting up with friends as I find conversation is just flows easier in person.
    In terms of isolation I think many people unconsciously do this. With the pandemic and lockdown, do you think that more people are aware of their isolation, despite still using and talking via social networks as they normally would? And if so, post lockdown, do you think that people who have craved more physically connections, as opposed to one via a screen, will keep meeting up physically or do you think the almost ‘novelty’ of this will die down and return to on screen communication?

    1. Hi Alicia, thanks so much for taking the time to read my paper!
      I’m the same, although I know people who openly prefer communicating via social media, I am still one to value physically seeing my friends and family. The COVID lockdown is definitely something which can play a strong role into the topic of hyper-personal communication, and I do believe that people came to a realisation of how much they did – or didn’t – physically meet up with others before the pandemic. Considering this, even though we all communicated via social media beforehand, some more than others, I do believe the lockdown saw a rise in a level of dependency on social media from everyone, to feel somewhat connected to friends and family. Regarding post lockdown, it is hard to truly define what is post lockdown really. As we navigate through COVID however, I take a strong stance that it has truly made us value physical connections and communication, as you said, I do believe that it does have a strong sense of flow and ease when being physically being with others. So yes, I do believe there is a new found ‘novelty’ behind meeting up with others, for both those who crave physical connections but also those who reflected during lockdown and identified themselves as isolated due to their social media usage prior to lockdown. However, there is always the worry that screen to screen communication will quietly take over the world…
      Once again, thank you for your comment and best of luck!

  10. Hey Caitlin,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper and gaining a different perspective on the topic! Personally, I am very in touch with the topic you have covered as I am surrounded by many people who struggle to communicate face to face or even through human contact. I agree with the fact that this safeness we feel behind the screens allows us to not only connect in an idealistic way but also produce an idealistic version of ourselves. I think many of us are guilty of this act and some of us don’t realise how much we rely on social media to assist us with majority of our communications, till we are put in physical social situations. I do believe that to a certain extent there is a need for hyper-personal communication especially through times like the present. As the global pandemic has put a halt on face to face interaction in some countries the need to emotionally connect with others is still vital. And at the moment social media has allowed us to pursue a form on personal and emotional relationships with others. This may very well be our future which is definitely scary!

    1. Hi Em, thank you for taking the time out to read my paper and comment.
      You raise a brilliant point about the current global pandemic, and trust me, this was definitely something was in the back of my head the whole time I was writing my paper. Although I am strong with my stance on hyper-personal communication, I can not deny that social media has been a crucial aid during the pandemic to keep us connected with the ones we love in a time in which we can’t connect with them in a physical sense. However, I do wonder if the global retreat to communicating from behind a screen had an impact on post-lockdown interactions, especially in areas which were forced into these conditions for months on end. I really appreciate you sharing your personal insight into my topic, as a somewhat extrovert myself, I find it interesting to hear what other’s personal opinions are on this particular concept, especially when they are in agreeance with my stance.
      Thank you again for your comment and good luck!

  11. What a brilliant paper, Caitlin, so well written and understandable! I often fear I’ll read something and not be able to get a grasp of what the writer is trying to get across. Having teenage daughters, this paper really struck a chord with me. I can see how they are forming an identity on social media, along with the impacts of their social media usage on their moods and mental health. I have taken the liberty to download the paper by O’Reilly, Dogra, and Whiteman to read up more on the topic! As I grew up when the internet began to shape our current world, I can see this emotional difference you mention. It was a much more sterile environment to begin with, now we shout with caps locked and have collection of emoji’s to suit almost any occasion. In some ways, online chatting was much like having a penpal who could respond instantly. It’s evolved beyond this with social media and I wonder that, even though we are now flooded with photos and videos, are we still missing the subtle emotional signs from each other that we would get in the real world. This hyper-personal communication lacks the nuances of being able to ‘read’ the other person’s emotional response, and instead we are still seeing a somewhat ‘sterile’ view but with much greater representation of ‘what’ they are over ‘who’. I love this last line, where we must “assess the authenticity of our online relationships and the damaging impact it is having on our younger generations.” They are our future. Ironically, I feel it is something even us older generations should take into consideration to.

    1. Hi Emma, thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper, this comment has really made my day!
      I’m glad to hear that you not only understand the argument I was trying to get across, but also agree with it and are able to provide me with an insight into how hyper-personal communication has found itself present in your world. As being a teenager not too long ago, I’ll agree that social media (especially during high school) had a worrying control over my moods and mental health also, and now reflecting on this in my early twenties, this is really what inspired me to look further into this topic and hence came across the concept hyper-personal communication. I completely agree with what you mentioned about the shift between when the internet first began to connect us together to now being a social-media crazed online community, and that we are slowly losing the personal touches and emotional signs we would otherwise receive in a physical interaction.
      Once again, thank you for your time and your brilliant feedback! Caitlin

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