This is a very informative post and something every blogger and user of social media should be aware of.
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.
I didn’t go to college right out of high school. I’m past the age of a college grad, but decided it’s never too late to get a higher education. In the years since high school, I’ve studied multiple subjects. I love to learn and research. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself since beginning my journey to a degree. One major discovery was that my adult social interactions had been stunted. It’s not like I’ve been locked in a closet, I do know how to communicate in social settings, but not as well as my peers. Social media has definitely stunted this social growth experience.
With social media, we have a wide open space to give our opinions and we get a sense that people want to hear our opinions. It’s just not so. I have a lot of opinions, but as the old saying goes, “Opinions are like…” well, you know. It’s very selfish, and not entirely “socially acceptable” behavior. I’m still going to give my opinions. I just won’t waste my breath trying to convince anyone I’m right or that they should have more respect for my opinion rather than someone else’s.
As I discover some interesting things I’m learning about the affect social media has had on my social experience, I will share my thoughts and opinions. It’s only from learning from others’ experiences that there will be any type of understanding.
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.
In life, we’re often wrong about choices we make and words we choose to say. Many times we luck out and have few witnesses to our mistakes. Those decisions we were so sure of while we made them become a distant memory for ourselves and those who were affected by them- we take the learning experience out and move onward and upward (at least, that is the hope). Some times, our quick change of plans or of mind benefits us and we are able to avoid a disaster. At times, we assert ourselves over something so miniscule that it has absolutely no impact in our daily lives. I know I’ve heard a song and was so sure that it was a particular artist that I stood my ground and argued that it was who I was sure it was only to find out I was wrong. I apologized and was embarassed that I was arguing something so insignificant. I was so sure I was right. That happens so often, but we don’t really think twice about it. This is not allowed on social media.
You can’t change your mind. Ever. Your opinion is out there. If you do change your mind, you will get harassed if it is not the opinion anyone who read or commented on it wants you to have. If you have new information and change your mind on something, you are a liar. If you change your opinion because someone comments something that makes sense, you are taking sides. Is the first opinion your true opinion or is it your second? Why did you change your mind? In the end, how you come to a conclusion doesn’t really matter to anyone. At least, not in social media.