From the New York Times article, “I Tweet, Therefore I Am“:
“But when every thought is externalized, what becomes of insight? When we reflexively post each feeling, what becomes of reflection? When friends become fans, what happens to intimacy? The risk of the performance culture, of the packaged self, is that it erodes the very relationships it purports to create, and alienates us from our own humanity. Consider the fate of empathy: in an analysis of 72 studies performed on nearly 14,000 college students between 1979 and 2009, researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found a drop in that trait, with the sharpest decline occurring since 2000. Social media may not have instigated that trend, but by encouraging self-promotion over self-awareness, they may well be accelerating it.”
As a designer, and a human, I am very concerned with empathy. I’ve been reading, intermittently, The Empathic Civilization, which also had a lot to say on the subject (obviously). Very big, detailed book, though. Still working my way through.
Briefly: What if empathy were declining? Consider the fate of humanity.