Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself
Jesse Weaver

Well written, thoughtful article. Thank you. I do not use social media except for a rare peek on Facebook at the request of family members wishing me to gaze on the thousand weekly posted photos of their children. (I exaggerate. Dozens?) But the social media game continues to astonish me, as I watch its impact on those I love. I once spent Thanksgiving with a family that, after dinner, sat around the living room, each on his/her laptop. For a couple of hours. As for the comparison to drug users to excessive media users, I find this tragically spot on. My own lovely and brilliant daughter, who once filled her time with the most amazing and creative self generated projects, has turned into a crazed cell phone user, checking God knows what every few minutes, like a bored research monkey looking into the food bin over and over, hoping for something other than monkey chow. A Yale graduate who won numerous fellowships, she is now addicted to Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit and Buzzfeed. Her cell phone is never out of her hand, or pocket. I’ve given up trying to talk her out of this incessant need to check her phone. My only rule is that she cannot text when we’re having a conversation. The fact that ‘everyone else does it’ and hence does not make it rude means nothing to me. I believe we of the Attention Web are now living in Plato’s Cave. There’s a beautiful world outside, but it has ceased to be real to so many.

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