In order to know what was going in other people’s lives you used to have to write them, call them or see them in person. Or hear about them from mutual friends. Information or the details of a person and their lives could only be gleaned through intentional activity. This also cuts off a lot of people. Everyone only has a limited number of hours in the week, and have to choose (or not choose) who to keep up with.
Now because of social media you can keep up with as many people as you want with no effort and no contact. You can read Tweets and status updates about friends from all over without ever having to actually contact them. You can absorb information about others without actually knowing them.
I find that this trains people to build more shallow relationships, as well as losing focus on how we do need to spend more time with some people than others. There are some people that do need more of our time and attention. We also must keep in mind that knowing things about others is not the same as relating with them. So my challenge to you, is call five people you know you normally wouldn’t this week, and say hi.