Reading Response #4

1. Gwendolyn Seidman’s article, Is Facebook Really Turning Us into Narcissists?, isn’t a long one but does hit a few key topics on social media and self-esteem. She says that through studies, Facebook use in a consequence, not a cause of, narcissism. She brings up a study that a done by Gonzales and Hancock, that finds spending time on ones own Facebook page as opposed to sitting in front of a mirror, actually increases self-esteem. Another study shows that people who were asked to engage in self promotion on Facebook were more likely to express greater narcissism tendencies immediately after using Facebook. Seidman also references a study done by Ryan & Xenos that found Facebook use is high for extroverts as well as people with low self esteem. In conclusion, Facebook seems to be drawing narcissist to use it but actually creating narcissism.

Seidman, G (2014). Is Facebook Really Turning Us into Narcissists?
Close Encounters

2. This article is a study not just of Facebook users but also the difference between make and female users. Both men and women spent an averages of around 2 hours per day with women spending a little bit more time than men. It focuses part of the article on users profile pictures and finds that that is where narcissism is at its highest. Women change their pictures more frequently than men and choose a picture based on physical attractiveness. Men choose the same way but change their profile pictures way less that women do. In the study, it explored empathy and found that women tend to feel distress and reflate to other users more than men do. In the end it finds that Facebook is not really used for self promotion, but rather a tool for staying connected.

Alloway T., Runac R., Qureshi M., Kemp G. (2014). Is Facebook Linked to Selfishness? Investigating the Relationships among Social Media Use, Empathy and Narcissism.
Scientific Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.4263/sn.2014.33020

3. In the article, Investigating the Relationships between Facebook and Social Connectedness, Self-efficacy and Self-esteem, it supports the findings in the previous articles. Such as, it agrees that by observing ones Facebook page, it has a tendency to raise self-esteem. Also, that people who suffer with low self-esteem find Facebook helpful in that they can avoid social anxiety or a face to face meeting. People on Facebook who fail to achieve the desired self-presentation can result in a decrease of self esteem. While people who already have a healthy sense of self esteem, Facebook is an extension of that. Their full lives spill over into Facebook. While people with a large amount of friends tend to have high self esteem, it shows that when a certain number of friends is surpassed, it can be a sign of low self esteem because their relationships tend to fell superficial. The article concluded that a high usage of Facebook increase social connectedness but not self-efficacy or self-esteem.

Whelan, B. (2014). Investigating the Relationships between Facebook and Social Connectedness, Self-efficacy and Self-esteem.
Department of Psychology, DBS School or Arts, Dublin
(While the citation or this article isn’t right, I further researched the references he used and found them to be accurate)

Exploratory Essay (tho probably changing topic)

As I scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed I am bombarded with celebrities living the life, perfectly happy families, friends visiting exotic places, new purchases, new job, new boyfriend, new girlfriend, weddings, perfect bodies, perfect faces, perfect pets, perfect kids, perfect husbands and wives…perfect perfect perfect. It’s like riding though a utopia on a magical unicorn, only to be kicked off that unicorn as soon as you log out. Then you see it, your reality, without all that perfectness and happiness. It’s easy to see how social media, particularly Facebook, can have an impact on ones self esteem, especially young adults. If you’re sitting around all day looking at snapshots of peoples ‘perfect’ lives, who wouldn’t be depressed? Social media allows people to create a life they wish that they had 24/7 and puts it out for all to see and admire and/or envy. It come down to both side of the sword here. First, if Facebook is lowering kids’ self esteem then wouldn’t they, and this is a revolutionary idea, get off Facebook? Log out? Go live? Yeah. Right. Ask any teenager to unplug and you’ll probably be met with WWIII. And by the way, shouldn’t we all be smart enough to know that those single perfect moments you are looking at everyday aren’t reality? Second, what is in the mind of someone who is constantly posting those happy, perfect pictures? Do they have a need to be liked, admired or for people to be jealous? What do they get out of having people “Like” their photos? Is everyone on social media suffering from low self esteem? The people that are wishing their life was like someone else’s and the people that post how wonderful their life is for all to witness. Aren’t both groups looking for validation of their lives in some small way?
Each social media site has it’s own appeal and over a billions, yes billion, of us are drawn to it everyday of our lives. Teenagers these days, it’s all they’ve known…a life with social media. But when young adults are constantly being fed images of unattainable perfection, and not just from their friends but also celebrities, sports figures or musicians they follow, it’s hard for them not to wonder, “Why can’t that be me? or “Why can’t I have that?”. It creates a depressed mood. There’s a constant comparison between themselves and everybody else. And if your comparing your life to anyone’s on Facebook, then yes, your life is going to suck. Everyone you’re looking at only shows their perfect selves because, and let’s be honest, who posts a picture that they look even remotely bad in? No one.
The pressure that young adults have today with looking, acting, beings certain way feels almost unbearable to me. Being well into my adulthood, I see with these young people around me that constant pressure to be “cool”. And with social media, one wrong move and you become a target or an outcast. Social media has a mob mentality to it…one person starts with hate on another and then others jump on the bandwagon after that.
Facebook and social media aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they will continue to grow at a fast pace. How do we as a culture wrapped up in social media protect ourselves, but mostly the generations to come, from the negative effects it can cause? Is our youth destined to live dull, miserable lives behind the perfect ones they post online? How do we teach them to cope with those pressures and to decipher what’s real and what’s not?

While typing this up I realized I didn’t like, or really know, the direction I was going. I think I’m going to change my topic…

Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants

Sadowski, J. (2014). The Digital Native: A Profitable Myth.
The Baffler

Brown, K. (2013). Do Digital Natives Exist?
PBS Digital Studios-IDEA Channel

After watching the video and reading the article, my thoughts have not changed one bit on whether digital natives exist or not. I’m walking proof, born in the 80’s, that just because of that I am not a digital native. Technology does not come easy to me and I struggle to understand how to use even the tools in this class. I was raised in an affluent area and had access to it all yet I still can’t grasp certain aspects of computers and everything they are capable of. Many people way older than myself are much more capable at navigating software and the internet. So, if digital natives and digital immigrants did exist, I should be a natural at all this! It’s like Mike Rugnetta, that hosted the PBS video said, it was the so called digital immigrants that invented what the digital natives are using. He also states that no one is born able to speak any language so why would we say that digital natives born 1980 and higher are naturals at technology?

Reading Response 1

Carr, N. (2013). All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines.
The Atlantic

Carr, N. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid?
The Atlantic

Cep, Casey N. (2014). The Pointlessness of Unplugging.
The NewYorker

The three articles listed above have made me realize 3 things. I now have a fear of flying (don’t pull up, Captain!!), I’m not as smart or quick as I was 18 years ago due to all the advances in technology (what’s 6×13??) and when I “unplug”, it’s only for the thrill of being able to return and let everybody know that I didn’t
Facebook for a week (tho, I really don’t need Facebook. Ever.).
But besides my new fear of flying, what’s really scary is that technology will soon be replacing humans..and have already done so in some fields. The rate of human err might lessen but if humans are the ones making the machines that will say, fly planes, from take off to landing, then won’t there be flaws in that? And it’s all I see when I look around these days. Kids as young as 3 playing on a iPhone or watching a movie at dinner. How the heck did I survive when I had to go out to dinner and didn’t have anything to distract me except a couple crayons and a piece of paper?? Oh, that’s right, I learned to have a conversation and to not expect to be entertained 100% of the time, and to socialize. As soon as we sit down in a restaurant my 5 yr old stepson asks for a phone to play a game on till dinner..you try saying no to a 5 year old and then have a pleasant dinner…Here’s my phone, kid. So, Nicholas Carr’s article, All Can Be Lost is explaining the issues/problems we are having now with technology and people losing a certain set of skills but what about the future. We are still in transition with technology, as some of us remember when the internet didn’t exist, but for the newer generations that only know the instant information way of life, where will they take us? The piece in the article about the Inuit and them now using GPS is such a clear way to explain in general what is happening to all of us. We have all lost something to the age of technology and it’s only us, a live human being, that can realize what that is and change it. We should always be challenging our minds even with the basics.
Ok Nicholas Carr, your second article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, didn’t have me at hello. For the first 9 paragraphs you go on and on that you can no longer focus on long articles or lengthy books and tend to lose interest within 3-5 paragraphs while forcing yourself to complete the reading. Two things on that….1. If you, a self proclaimed voracious reader, can’t get thru a few paragraphs, why on earth would you write a 34ish page article and think that others (me!) will get thru it?? 2. Oh crap…I can no longer get thru a 34ish page article.
I consider myself an avid reader. I’ll read anything in front of me. Fiction, nonfiction, biography, magazines, pamphlets, directions on how to put together a shed (and then I will build that she’d too, thankyouverymuch)…anything and everything. And while I think Carr’s article was a bit long winded, I must say agree with his point that, I too, can no longer focus on a reading like I used to…I can scroll thru a reading like a champ tho. I would sit and read for 6-7 hours straight, well into the wee hours of the morning. Engrossed in characters and their stories and not wanting the book to ever end. And when it did, feeling a sort of sadness that it was over. Looking at my nights now, gone are the paper books and stories which are replaced by my iPad and Instagram. I scroll mindlessly thru people’s posts until my eyes hurt, then scroll a little more to make sure I haven’t missed anything incredibly important. But, can’t one can argue that an Instagram post is a story with characters and a plot…or at least a captured moment in a story?
“Unplugging”. Who really does that? Unless you drop your phone in the toilet and it shuts down on you which happened last Friday and I felt naked for an entire day without a phone. Anyway..It’s near impossible to unplug these days. We should all be up on our current events, in touch with family and “in the know” with our jobs, hobbies ect. I know that emailing/texting with my family is now the only we communicate and when I do actually get a call from one of them I think it’s to tell me someone died! Didn’t realize how weird that was until I just typed it out. I will say that when I left Facebook it was for one whole year…how crazy is that???But honestly, I didn’t miss it and I didn’t crave it. It was a bad habit. I’m bored, Facebook. I’m tired, Facebook. I’m waiting in line, Facebook. My dinner company sucks, Facebook. Kidding on the last one. I found myself hitting the little blue F button all the time…even if I had just a few seconds ago looked at it!!! Talk about unproductive not to mention that people who are on Facebook all the time tend to be sad about their own lives. Please, I know plenty of people on Facebook that are not that happy but man do they take a good ol’ happy family photo to post online. I say, if you’re feeling it, go ahead and unplug. If you’re perfectly fine always being plugged in, then you go ahead and stay plugged in.
We have to realize that things are, and will be, constantly changing…and it’s us that is making these changes. New technology just doesn’t appear, it’s created..by humans. We can dwell on the skills we are loosing or we can acknowledge it and strive to keep those skills as well as adapt to the ever changing world of gadgets. I try to exercise my brain everyday with crossword puzzles. It’s my thing and it makes me feel better. I like being able to recall information without having to google it all the time. On the other hand, I love me some Google…it can settle a bet real fast.

Practice Response

What would happen if the World Wide Web never existed? Well, it would be 1990 again. But, what if it vanished tomorrow? Some of us may remember a time when information wasn’t so readily available and those people will probably never forget the card catalog at the library you would use to find the book you were looking for (it took foooreeeevvver). I’m one of those people. And even so, I can’t fathom not being able to pick up my iPhone or iPad and search for the closest Starbucks, how many miles the moon is from earth (I can never remember that!) or the name of that author of that book…you know, he also wrote that other book??
Both Ben Yagoda’s articles, “Is The Internet Good For Writing?, Parts 1 & 2”, make valid and persuasive arguments for each side. On one hand, “writers” are everywhere and everyone…it’s like going to LA and asking people what they do for a living and the response is mostly likely “I’m an actor.” “Really? What have I seen you in?” “I was in an axe body spray commercial last year.” With the internet, any person with a thought, idea, political or religious view, or any view for that matter, can share their view but that doesn’t not a writer make. On the other hand, once in a while I come across a post or blog or article that gets me thinking. And isn’t that the main reason people post to the internet? To get people thinking and questioning their thoughts? While I agree with Sturgeon’s Law that 90% of everything out there is crap, I also believe that with out the internet we would be missing out on great things. It gives people who really do have innovative ideas or the gift of writing a chance to be known and heard. It also is a gift the the people out there looking to be moved or impassioned. There are a ton of posts on the internet that I don’t relate to or find uninteresting or don’t agree with at all and that’s fine. There are most likely hundreds, thousands or millions of people who do relate or find it interesting. And even if one person finds it interesting or moving, isn’t that enough? That’s the amazing thing about the internet. You can find everything about anything. I follow a blog that’s written by a mother with three boys and I don’t even have a kid! It’s the way she writes and what she writes about that keeps me coming back…it’s hilarious! Ok, so maybe that isn’t “brilliant” writing but it still has its niche.
Every single one of us has an outlet at their fingers tips for the ENTIRE world to see. That is so cool. And not just to see, but to also be commented on, argued with, agreed with, loved or hated. Unfortunately, it’s mostly negative and the internet provides safe havens for those people that hide behind a pseudonym, or not, and spew hatred. That is so not cool. I say good for you for not being scared to keep on writing!
This is my first blog entry and I will admit that I am terrified of putting anything I write out into the universe. Terrified. But as I navigate the blog world, and hopefully become more comfortable in it, maybe I could one day write something that others will find interesting…possibly even brilliant? But, without the internet, no one would ever know.

Yagoda, B. (2013). Is the Internet Good for Writing? Part 1 & 2
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Lingua Franca