We will now try to tie together the discussion points on social media to date. One theme that is rapidly gaining traction (and also supporting data) is that social media has the potential to become an addictive behavior. This is probably best argued in Nancy Colier’s 2016 The Power of OFF: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World. She labels this phenomena Technoholism, and notes that one of the more terrifying aspects of it’s potential is that fact that overuse of the social media is not only socially acceptable, but is condoned and in fact encouraged (especially in the U.S.). Dialog about the negative negatives of over-dependence on social media, psychological or physiological dependencies do not get discussed.
. This becomes critical when you look at the following stats from 2015:
“A recent study found that the average person spends approximately 12 hours per day looking at a screen, with digital media being the most ingested form. The computer occupies more than 5 hours of our day, whit mobile devices coming in second at more than 2 hours per day. And the numbers are rising quickly: it’s reported that a child born in 2013 will have spent a year of her life in front of a screen by the age of 7.” (Colier 2016: 24-5)
NOW take a look at the following short videos (all just 2-3 minutes each):
- Zurich Insurance video: https://youtu.be/wncZPE7NMVI?t=68
What are they worried about in terms of social media and their industry? In your view is it over-reaction?
How does this video apply to you personally?
- How Social Media is changing your Brain: https://youtu.be/HffWFd_6bJ0?t=33
This video uses the same arguments and data as Colier does in her book in regards to technology addiction [technoholism].
How compelling are the arguments?
Do you see any evidence of these claims in yourself and your friends?
How does this video tie into the discussion about the attraction of controlling the presentation of self (asynchronous) as seen in Facebook or other social media—in contrast to live interaction or a phone call?
How many of these impacts were you aware of prior to the videos?
Do these videos change the way you look at smartphones and social media usage?
We will be going over these questions tomorrow in hangouts so have some thoughts ready to share [Wed. 12:30]
The second point would be the global nature of the phenomena of social media. If Miller is right, then we must separate the APP from the social use and impacts of the APP, which will vary dramatically from society to society. Miller’s work on Trinidadian Facebook use is good case in point, as Americans have a very ethnocentric view of the social impacts of APPs.
The long-term impact of social media usage won’t probably be clearly seen for another 5-6 years, but some trends are already accepted. One is that rather than the assumed growth of globalized social norms and values, the realities appears to be that social norms and values have become more compartmentalized.
Colier notes that accepting alternate viewpoints or interpretations is not as necessary today due to technology:
“Information syndrome, on the other hand, solidifies what we already believe, ensuring our “rightness” and thus making growth less likely or possible. Accommodation is no longer necessary in the information age. There is enough information for everyone to be “right” and maintain a barricaded system so that we don’t have to encounter disruption or contradiction… Technology allows us to instantly find the facts that support what we already believe.” (Colier 2016: 35)
It is possible that rather than a unifying force, social media may lead to us becoming more isolated in ever-smaller communities of people who mirror our likes and dislikes—innumerable digital-only communities.