Our social preoccupation with Twitter seems to suggest we’re a bunch of self-obsessed schizophrenics.
We’re so into ourselves that we think the world cares to know what we’re doing at any given point of the day.
What’s more, if tweeting is our method of speaking with one another,
it seems our social conversations have given up narrative and structure and our discourses have abandoned any points of reference.
Even when people are physically in the same room as one another,
they are updating their status, following someone on twitter, texting, sexting, checking their email, googling something someone just said,
looking up a video on YouTube, posting a picture they just took – all in between sentences.
There is never a moment we are not entertained.
We are texting when we should be having one-on-one conversations.
Relationships are formed in the social media world without ever physically meeting.
This constant multitasking and informational overload may also have serious implications on
education, including verbal and writing skills in the coming generations.
According to the Pew Internet Project 18-24 year olds are exchanging an average of 55 texts per day and over half of them say they prefer to communicate via text than by voice call.
Now considering body language and “nonverbal cues” make up about two-thirds of communication between two speakers, what are the implications here?
So much is being lost by this increasing communication through a phone. So much authenticity and emotion is completely removed from these “text” interactions.
The ability to perceive, understand and empathize with one another is quickly being phased out
and replaced by these cold and impersonal, albeit immediate and dynamic technological messages.
A. EMAIL HAS BECOME THE NEW SLOT MACHINE:
It follows something called the “variable interval reinforcement schedule,” which is the same process that drives gambling addiction.
In both cases, you perform an action (check your email or put a coin in the machine) in the hopes of receiving a reward (an interesting email or a nice sum of money).
But that reward only comes at unpredictable times—
causing you to perform the first action more and more frequently.
It’s one of the strongest habit-training methods known to man, and nearly everyone who owns a computer has been subjected to it for years.
B. FACEBOOK IS A DEPRESSANT:
A joint American/Belgian study monitored participants’ Facebook usage for two weeks
while simultaneously keeping tabs on their moods.
They found that frequent users reported lower life-satisfaction both at the end of the fortnight and after individual visits to the site.
C. SOCIAL MEDIA IS POWERED BY RAGE:
Think back to the last Tweet you saw that really caused a reaction in you. Chances are it was something that angered you,
Chinese researchers studied over 70 million posts on Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) to see how different emotions spread across the network.
They found that anger utterly trounces every other emotion for getting retweeted—leaving joy, disgust, and sadness trailing in its wake.
D. DUMB AND DUMBER:
In 2009, the journal Science published an overview of studies about the effect of new media on our cognitive abilities.
They found that while the Internet can increase “visual literacy skills,” that increase appears to be offset with decreases in other areas, such as
critical thinking, inductive problem solving, imagination, and “abstract vocabulary.”
If we end up trading critical thinking and imagination in for super-duper “visual literacy skills,” it won’t exactly be the trade of a lifetime.
E. SOCIAL MEDIA MAY BE AN EMPATHY VAMPIRE:
Students today are less likely to feel for others, to show concern for others, and are 40% worse at prescriptive talking—
he ability to perceive other people’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
Scientists are suggesting that that may be down to social media forcibly slowing our compassion responses.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF SOCIAL MEDIA'S IMPACT UPON US?