Does social networking hamper our ability to bond?

I recently met someone who blogs practically for a living, which then provoked me to consider if all of the social marketing activity happening in this technology obsessed world, detracts from us being able to integrate as social beings in person.

With the creation of all sorts of distractions such as MySpace, Bebo, numerous blogs about nothing in particular and of course, the queen bee of the privacy invaders that is Facebook; we’ve never been more able to hide behind a virtual façade. 

Now, no-one likes confrontation, but is it right for these ‘networking’ websites with applications such as ‘meet new people’, ‘compare people’ and ‘my hottest friends’ to replace actually meeting someone in a bar, park or tube and actually coughing up the confidence to ask for their number? Surely nothing webwise can replace that effervescent thrill of butterflies? On the plus side, those who are merely a mouse on the dating front will benefit from this non-confrontational platform to ‘poke’, play and ‘throw’ whatever they like at someone without the embarrassment of actually having to have to ‘talk’. Not to mention all of the other stalking activities you wouldn’t even contemplate practicing in the real world.

So I guess the question you have to ask is does social networking hamper our ability to bond in person? Well, I’m still in the process of working that one out, I’ll let you know what I discover once I’m able to put the ‘Texas hold ‘em’ to one side, worked out my ‘stripper name’ and hatched an answer out of my virtual ‘growing gift’.