This class on social media hit the mark. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and each week I discovered something new. I learned many things, including the vitally important leadership concept: culture is the key factor in successful corporate implementation of social media.
I leave this class with my final post on personal connection to social media. The power of personal connection in social media amplifies outward dramatically, leveraging one’s voice and network, like a lever and fulcrum , sharing news, connecting people in need with people in excess, and meeting human needs. This same power can amplify inward, causing a depressed person to be more depressed, causing a happy person to be more happy, causing a politically liberal person to become even more liberal. The inward amplification is due to the filter bubble and our homophily.
Assuming and Unaware
Some people make assumptions that using social media is like being hooked on heroin, and once you get started, it will take over your life to the detriment of all the other good things. Ignoring social media is like living on the coast and ignoring a rising tide and coming flood; one can avoid looking but can’t avoid the huge impact. Avoiding and refusing to engage with social media is a mistake which will negatively impact one’s quality of life.
Some people try not to think about the amount of screen time on social media and its opportunity costs. Do online interactions meet the psychological needs of a person and society’s needs? Does increased screen time (smart phone, laptop, TV) make us more connected to other people or less? Is the connection worse or better? I believe that social media has become an addiction for many. Why do I say that? Read the definition below and then think about how you feel when you can’t find your smart phone or when the WiFi is so bad you can’t get data on your phone.
addiction: (uh-dik-shuh n) the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Severe trauma? Well, maybe moderate trauma for some of us. Based upon the reaction of my teenagers and their friends, when their access is cut, I have witnessed severe trauma, bordering on panic.
Questioning and Aware
In the timeline of development, we are very new to this form of media and are only beginning to ask and grapple with questions about its implications for our culture and our personal well-being.
A personal recommendation I’ve stolen from many sources:
Be mindful in your use of smartphones and social media.
Want to learn more?
- Mindfulness vs. Smartphones (Huffington Post)
- Addicted to Your Phone? Try this Practice—Phone in Hand(mindful.org)
- Mindfulness and the Average Smartphone(Psychology Today)
Prof. Kane recommended, but thinks the talk is not nuanced and objective, we watch the Sherry Turkle (psychologist, sociologist, author) Ted Talk on our online connection and its implications for real relationship intimacy.
I recommend this short talk from author Abha Dawesar on the subtleties of attention, time, and quality of life.
The greatest characteristic of social media is its combination of power and access. It is leveling the playing field by giving anyone with access to an internet connected device an opportunity to connect to the entire human population of connected people. Any internet-accessible person with an ambition or curiosity can reach out to give or get help, make connections, join with others to create a power that alone they do not possess, express their opinions, and share news. Linux, Wikipedia, PGP, were were created by social networks. Many personal and business relationships are enhanced by social network connections. There have been and will be many positive and negative outcomes from social media.
Social media is a set of technologies that we can use to improve our lives, if we remain aware of their power as a tool and their impact on our own being, our relationships, and our communities.