Monday, September 20, 2010

The topic we discussed today in sociology really got me thinking. We were taking notes on the proccess of socialization when the professer went off on an interesting and related tangent (its awsome when she does this!). It was about a college somewhere doing a volentary experiment to see the effects of college students not using either facebook or twitter for an entire week. Now I realize I don't have any information about this experiment but I was more interested in the topic than the actual results of the experiment (I like to give the sources for where my more interesting thoughts come from.)

No facebook? No Twitter? FOR A WEEK?! Who would volentarily do such a thing? I surmise that this could be a common reaction of people in my age group. But it was not so long ago that these social networking sites did not exist. When one moved away you very rarely saw your old friends again or knew who they were dating or what type of koolaid they're making or what part of their house they are currently residing in. No you had little connection with these people beyond the occasional phone call or maybe going back to visit and perhaps sending gifts and cards at Christmas. Today we can hardly escape our friends. There is always somone up online willing to talk with you about absolutly nothing.

"Do you watch Lost?"
 But this is a good thing right?  We're more connected and sharing ideas is so easy now! I've never felt more accepted!  I like my cyber friends who i've never met nor do i really know anything about them, but because they have the label of "friend" in my freinds tab I create the realtionshiop as perfect in my mind!! And so little time is spent actually talking with this person that my idealistic view of our relationship is very hard to dispell!! WHY WOULD THIS BE A BAD THING??!?!?!


My friends...this is a bad thing.  Heres my reasoning on why.  It is in all essence addictive not only due to the fact that it gives the (false) feeling of acceptance through "groups" and "fanclubs", it also starves us of actual human interactions while providing a cut down cheaper version that gets us just high enoguh to keep us coming back.  In a normal human interaction (perhaps a conversation between two people standing face to face) only 30% of the focus of one individual is spent on the actual words and meanings of the other. The other 70% of the energy devoted to interpreting the interaction is focused on body language, intonation, facial expression, and even the slight variations in smell of the other person.  What does this mean? It means conversations you have on facebook give you only a third of the required imput to fully understand someone. We make up for this by talking a hell of a lot more.  Which leads to longer time spent on a computer away from actual people. Which is what the creators wanted.  

"You either die a hero...or live long enough to see yourself become the villan."

I believe this leads to the inability to connect with people outside of a cyber world.  When you meet someone in person there is alot more information being thrown at you than in a typical online interaction. Ever met a very tech-savvy person who spend alot of time on computers yet has less than adequate people skills?  It is becasue they have spent so much time behind a tiny filter that only lets in the tiniest bit of information in at a time. Ergo they have lost (or never developed) the skills to interact and socialize with people in the realworld. 

(I love how much this same picture applies)
 Human contact is one of the basic requirements of life that is programmed in every human being at birth.  Facebook provides a substitute for the human needs of the company of others, and yet there is no true substitute.  This is how you create a situation where people are at home alone in the dark on a social networking site feeling like they are enjoying time with their friends. Or perhaps if that is a little radical of me, look at it like this, Take your favorite soda for example. (in my case Coca-cola) No other drink truly satisfies a craving for coke quite like an actual coke. There is diet, cherry, diet cherry, lime, diet lime, vanilla, cherry-vanilla, and a bunch of other off brands that try to sell you their product as being just as satisfying as the real thing, but it is never true. The same thing goes for actual human contact. There is no substitute.


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