Author Daniel D. Maurer posted this article on his own blog, Transformation is Real, a part of a series of posts called “The Daily Dab (or Dose)”. This is not something I’d usually read but stumbled across it after clicking into one of my writing-Google group notifications. I didn’t even read into the article but felt the need to get in on the discussion from the title alone, also extracting a few interesting facts from (eventually) skim reading the article. At this point the irony of how I found this piece, as well as the way in which engaged it, is not lost on me.
Yes, social media is the new drug [of choice], but not really new, going on sixteen plus years, with at least ten of those in boom.
With a healthy dose of cynicism, strengthened by a shot of skepticism, particularly towards the future, it’s easy to criticise social media. The age-old adage that “bad news is good news” is good foundation from which to build this argument; what leads us to social media everyday? What has us endlessly scrolling timelines and meandering through the lives of others? Why do we so easily play the hungry schools of fish to click-bait?
Never have we lived in a time where information is more rapidly coming to us, in a condensed, digestible format. Yes, it is very easy today to be informed and develop a sense of intelligence from this instead of spending 3-4 years taking notes and regurgitating it all at the end of term.
Is this bad? Yes and no. Per Maurer’s observations and explanations, the addiction to social media does not necessarily infer negative behaviour or “dumbing-down” effects. It’s more so entirely subjective to the individual. For instance a 10 year, PhD-certified academic may find great enhancement from the sea of information to his own research. But that same individual could also potentially take social media too seriously as it pertains to more trivial news or the personal lives of his/her friends or connections.
Just like a drug, it’s quick release and has a potential to enhance circumstances, even getting better with time as the technology continues to develop. It can also be extremely punishing, over-considered and all consuming, that is, it’s ultimately an extremely introverted experience; we can relay what we absorb back to ourselves without using active empathy/having to take into consideration someone else’s thoughts in tandem with our own when processing information.
Ironically, was this rambling too much to read? Check this video out which lets a more informed mind explain in a sound bite — “Phantom Vibration Syndrome” blows my mind.