“MISSING OUT, CHECKING PHONES, AND THE FUTURE OF COMMUNITY (Or, it’s been 5 minutes, hold on while I post a selfie.)

Scrolling through the IG feed. What is everyone else doing? First world problems: Imagine it’s 1999 and you have no WiFi or cellphone. Well, the fact is you can’t imagine it still being 1999 and not having WiFi or a cellphone. So this brings us to, will social media have a Myspace phase and low tide it’s way out? What will replace it? Several authors have vaguely talked about the symptoms of a narcissistic nano tech culture.
 Continued from this post two years ago. Marshall McLuhan writes in The Global Village, “Technologies themselves have a more powerful impact on human beings than the content they carry, our tools are extensions of our bodies. We ourselves are changed by our devices, and because we’re changed, society changes too.” In the book, Hamlet’s Blackberry, the author observes that we are to social media, “Perpetually connected, not moderately or connected, not with reason or as needed, but perpetually, as in ceaselessly, without pause.” (Page 67.)

Youtube sensation Connor Franta 
 Aziz Ansari in his book, Modern Romance makes the following observation, “What I see in bars today is a bunch of people staring at their phones trying to find someone or something more exciting than where they are.”(Page 27–28) Connor Franta wrote a memoir last year titled, A Work In Progress. He mentions the acronym, FOMO (fear of missing out) in the following quote, “There have been numerous occasions when, consumed with inexplicable fear, I have hated being where I was because I knew, or believed, there was somewhere better to be which gives us two options: make that situation better by having a good time, or go where one wants to be elsewhere. We cannot do everything and we cannot be everywhere. The doubt, distaste, and curiosity of what is happening elsewhere (scrolling through Instagram, Facebook) was not all what it seemed to be. So I’m saying no more to FOMO.” (Pages 57, 60.)

He goes on to say that social media likes are not the foundation of self worth. The amount of likes on FB, IG, or twitter don’t reflect our foundation of self worth, as such likes can be thoughtless. None of it matters. But he says it reflects our desire to be liked, which, paraphrasing him, social media is not the best place to go for validation.
 So this brings us again to the question where are we to be a community again? He observes astutely on page 190, “The structure and discipline of school and college fall away, requiring you to rebuild your own network.” So where do we go to meet new people? Where and how is such a network rebuilt? With the amount of time individual capitalism requires of varying individuals, how does this work? The whole selling point of technologies is to connect us when we are scattered. But the authors in these books do great critiques. They however offer no alternatives, suggestions, or solutions to the gaps still observed. They just cite the obvious on everyone’s mind and consider it covered. Because they don’t have the answer?

Skype and face-time, while trends, will not replace human interaction. Eva Hoffman in her book Time writes, “The arena of relationships, forms of friendship and intimacy, modes of meeting others and knowing them, is among the areas of life being most saliently changed by contemporary technologies. The impersonal virtual gaze noting fragmented bits of ones activities is not the same as the embodied attention of another person, taking what you are saying and following the thread of your story. It is not the same as the gaze with which someone witnesses your life.” (Page 177,178.)

Aaron Rhodes actually mentions the words, “Take a break from social media” in the video below. Could you do it? Will society ever get there as a whole? That moment of powering off? I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then may the next social phase of wherever our humanity is going usher in quickly.

Book Links from this Post:

Time, Eva Hoffman

Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari,

A Work in Progress, Connor Franta

The Global Village, Marshall McLuhan

Hamlet’s Blackberry By Willam Powers

In Real Life, Nev Shulman

Video: The Rhodes Bros Youtube Channel

Originally published at checksources.blogspot.com on March 19, 2016.