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Weekly Article Post

The act of what it is to be "social" is radically different than what has been in the past.  Even within the last ten years this concept has drastically changed. With rapid advancement in technology - especially with regard to the cell phone - people are more connected than ever before.  Many would argue (myself included) that the gratifications that come from virtual connectedness aren’t the same as person to person contact, and that physicality is the essential component of social interaction.  Regardless, the changes in how consumers of social technology utilize the various platforms available provide insight into how people choose to build their identities, and thus socially interact.   

Mike Wadahera suggests that the use of different social networking platforms at different times sheds light onto what age we are in (i.e., enlightenment, industrial, technological, information etc.).  According to Wadahera, the use of apps such as snapchat illustrate that our society is moving from the information age to the experience age. 

Facebook is an Information Age native. Along with other social networks of its generation, Facebook was built on a principle of the desktop era —  accumulation. 

Accumulation manifests in a digital profile where my identity is the sum of all the information I’ve saved — text, photos, videos, web pages. In the Information Age we represented ourselves with this digital profile. 

But mobile has changed how we view digital identity. With a connected camera televising our life in-the-moment, accumulated information takes a back seat to continual self-expression. The “virtual self” is becoming less evident. I may be the result of everything I’ve done, but I’m not the accumulation of it. Snapchat is native to this new reality. 

Although I would like to think that the shift from the information age to the experience age will encourage individuals to get out more, embrace the world, and physically be with one another; I still have my doubts about what will develop from such real time apps.  It would seem that the instant gratification which manifests from these real time social networking platforms – just as it did from the accumulation platforms - only brews a sense of narcissism among those who rely on them for their social needs (i.e., what’s  important is how many people have watched my snapchat story today).  It doesn’t seem to me that people are intrigued to utilize these platforms to let their friends and family know what they are up to, but more so for the fact that it gives them pleasure to know that other people (even people they barely know) are interested in what they are doing (this is similar to one obtaining satisfaction from how many likes their FB status gets them).  This, I fear, will only breed future generations to be more entitled, self-centered and superficial than they already are.

All of this is my personal opinion of course.  I honestly do believe that these platforms can be used for good - such as the spreading  of knowledge to the masses about important issues – but it would seem in today’s day and age that this is not what is happening.  I apologize if I am coming off as cynical as my intention is only to be skeptical.  It is my fear that many of us will go through life without assessing such concepts because we find them trivial and unimportant to the development of society.   I can assure you that something which receives the use of 100 million people per day, such as snapchat is not trivial to the shaping of our culture.  My goal is to convince you to analyze such concepts and come to your own conclusions. technological developments sculpting

Check out Wadahera’s article here, and combine it with your thoughts about social media to come up with your own theory.  It’s not like these apps and interfaces are going anywhere, so we might as well think about how we feel about them and how we want to present them to future generations. 

Happy Wellbeing Wednesday everybody.