I think that, like everything, there are pros and cons to social media and electronic communications. Both tend to lack emotions (even with the emoticons). That said, each allows people who are far from each other to communicate on a more daily basis.
That said, I have to say that there are more problems associated with electronic communications given the lack of "face." People can create who they wish to be over who they actually are. Also, with the rise of Internet bullying, people do not tend to think of the impact given they are not literally saying "bad things" to a person's face.
We might look at social media as a mitigating force in relationships. What I mean is, social media can be seen as a crutch which facilitates relationships while also weakening them. This may not cause estrangement, but if you only talk to someone over the phone, for example, and never see this person face to face, the relationship will likely not progress into real affection. A certain kind of distance is built in.
If we go with the cruth analogy, we might say that like crutches, social media serves a positive purpose but muscles/friendships/relationships will not grow to full strength if the crutches become permanent.
We've got to walk on our own to get full strength back, so to speak.
I think the answer to this question is both yes and no.
Yes because we no longer have to talk to people face to face. When we text or telephone them, we can't see their eyes, facial expressions, or body language. A lot can be gained from looking into someone's eyes or watching their body movements. Talking in person shows more effort and means more; it shows someone went to the trouble to look you up to talk to you. Phoning and texting seems so impersonal.
No because most relationships aren't built via phone or cell phone. Businesses conduct a lot of their affairs from a distance so they never get attached to the person they're dealing with. Therefore, there isn't somebody to be estranged from. And if a businessperson really wanted to personalize a conversation, they could sit down to a computer with a webcam and use Skype. This makes it possible to see their contact's face and look into his/her eyes.
As a teacher I see a lot of kids using social media all day long (whether they are supposed to be doing it or not!). I think it is often distracting, but I don't necessarily think it is causing estrangement. It has increased communication with people in a remote sense (as in communicating with people who are not in the same vicinity). I guess that might cause a decrease in communication with people who are nearby. But I wouldn't call that estrangement.
I think they can. For some people, it is far easier to communicate through an electronic device than in person. This might prevent a person from having healthy, social, face-to-face relationships. For this type of person, social media can impede their relationships and their social growth. For others, this isn't the case at all. Social media simply allows them to keep in touch and have greater ease of communication. For some people, social media can actually help facilitate face-to-face contact and improve their relationships. It just depends on the person and the use of the available media.
I think social media and other forms of communication have informalized the ways we interact with each other, but I am not convinced that they have led to estrangement from each other. I am constantly in communication with friends that I would not, in all honesty, speak with otherwise if not for social media. Social media has, in short, allowed me to connect with people far more than estranging me from them. It has by no means limited the amount of contact I have with family or close friends. So in my opinion, the answer to this is no.
No, I don't think it does. Electronic communications may lack the nuance and such of voice communications, but they are infinitely better than no communication. Electronic communications allow me, at least, to have relationships that I would not have at all if there were no electronic means of communication.
I do believe that social media and electronic communications create estrangement in human relationships. While the ability to communicate with others is easier, I do not believe that this has allowed human relationships to become closer.
I believe that electronic communications lack the connection necessary on emotional levels. Sending and receiving electronic messages lack the emotion heard in a human voice. Text messaging leaves messages as ambiguous (even with emoticons). Far too many misunderstandings can be made when reading an electronic message given the numerous assumptions which can be made on the part of the receiver. With a human voice, a listener can hear anger, happiness, sadness, and sarcasm. This is not the case with electronic messaging.