Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Social-Media-Sphere

It is clear that humanity has not yet grasped this whole social media thing.

The world has truly gotten smaller. We are now able to stay in touch with everyone we have ever known; anyone we meet, regardless of where they now live. And while you may not have stopped to ask why you want to renew acquaintances you were overjoyed to let lapse since middle school, those are likely not the only “friends” you have since regretted but initiated simply because you could and it was so cool. AND as we are beginning to discover many knew and unforeseen potentials to this whole new sphere of existence, we have also stumbled upon bad applications—too many to count.

For instance, the “topper” or “eat-your-heart-out” post. Actually a sub-set of the whole phenomenon of the carefully-edited-perfect-life-online, this is the erroneous practice of merely sharing the best things that happen in one’s life. Or—even better—the exaggeratedly, slightly better than really best things. We share our good news, our trips, and even things that didn’t happen, but almost did…without that last detail.

Even though we all know about the topper post, and we all fall into the practice, we seem to forget that it exists on other’s walls. We buy into the lie that other’s lives are perfect and we hate ours all the more. Which leads to more elaborate and fantastical editing. It is a vicious cycle.

Another insidious practice is the way we dialogue online, or more precisely the way we don’t but rather yell past each other. Study after study has shown that we automatically believe statements that support our preconceptions, and reject outright the ones that contradict them. However, what we are incapable of doing is ignoring the later. We have to fight them as if the sphere depended on us winning the argument. With everyone falling into this relational breakdown, the social sphere online tends toward a buzz of people all virtually yelling at each other without stopping to comprehend, or even think. It is mass communication breakdown.

It is clear that humanity has not yet grasped this whole social media thing.

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