Silence is Golden

Silence cannot be misquoted.

-Unknown

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It spreads like wildfire…

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This is a picture being shared on Facebook right now. It came up in my News Feed after one of my friends shared the picture and it apparently comes from Being Mommy.

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“Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana”

I recently did a research paper that included research on the history of social media. During my research, I came across this article written in 1995 by Clifford Stoll titled, “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana”.

Almost 20 years later, and this quote rings true more now than then,

What’s missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact. Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities. Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert. And who’d prefer cybersex to the real thing? While the Internet beckons brightly, seductively flashing an icon of knowledge-as-power, this nonplace lures us to surrender our time on earth. A poor substitute it is, this virtual reality where frustration is legion and where—in the holy names of Education and Progress—important aspects of human interactions are relentlessly devalued.

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Perception and the Internet

Perception distinguishes us as individuals. What I perceive varies from another based on my previous experiences and influences. It is the reason two people raised in the same environment in the same way can have very different perspectives. There is perception as an individual as well as social perception. Social perception is defined on psychwiki.com as, “…the process of forming impressions of individuals. The resulting impressions that we form are based off of information available in the environment, our previous attitudes about relevant stimuli, and our current mood. Humans tend to operate under certain biases when forming impression of other individuals.” Social media is a unique scenario where individual and social perception is distorted by anonymity on the internet.

When I meet a stranger a social setting, my perception is based on my individual biases. My biases include a multitude of experiences over the course of my life. I’ve had a negative experience in my childhood with a girl named Erin, who had blonde hair and green eyes. As a teen, I knew of another girl named Erin who was a bully to my cousin. As an adult, I was lied to by a woman named Erin who had brown hair and brown eyes. When I meet a woman in the grocery store, my first perception is based on my bias of her appearance. She has brown hair and green eyes, like myself, and gives a warm smile as she approaches me. My immediate perception is that she is like me, and I am a likable person, so there is no immediate negative perception. When she introduces herself as Erin, my negative bias I associate with the name “Erin” floods my perception.

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