Team Human Serialization #35: Digital Media Still Isn’t Very Good at Connecting People

Safer than the real world, where we are judged and our actions have consequences, virtual social spaces were assumed to encourage experimentation, role-playing, and unlikely relationships. Luckily for those depending on our alienation for profits, digital media doesn’t really connect people that well, even when it’s designed to do so. We cannot truly relate to other people online — at least not in a way that the body and brain recognize as real.

As neuroscientists have now established, human beings require input from organic, three-dimensional space in order to establish trusting relationships or maintain peace of mind. We remember things better when we can relate them to their physical locations, such as when we study from a book instead of a digital file.

The human nervous system calibrates itself over time based on the input we receive from the real world. A baby learns how to fall asleep by lying next to its mother and mirroring her nervous system. An anxious person gets calm after a walk in the woods. We come to trust another person by looking into their eyes and establishing rapport. We feel connected to a group when we breathe in unison.

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