Archive for ‘Social Networking’

September 21, 2010

What Are We To Believe?

by Vince

Brett McCracken has a fine article (you should read it all here) asking what are we to believe in this dubious world of deception, lies, and tabloids that we live in:

I saw the film Catfish this weekend–a documentary about a Facebook relationship. The film observes photographer Nev Schulman during his online romance with “Megan,” who he gets to know on Facebook (along with her whole family). As the film progresses, however, Nev begins to have doubts about who Megan actually is. Is she a real person? What would happen if he tried to meet her in person?

The film (which you should see) demonstrates our contemporary longing for connection in a world that is increasingly surreal, virtual, and subject to doubt. It underscores how prone we are to trust what we feel to be real, even though experience increasingly proves our skepticism warranted. Should we believe anything anymore? What can be trusted?

We used to trust authority. Presidents, politicians, pastors…  Not so much anymore. It’s hard when the media constantly feeds us stories of the scandals, dishonesty, and hypocrisy of these formerly heroic, respectable officials.

MJ and I had a relative conversation about this yesterday. We wonder if Sarah Palin truly believes that America has nothing to apologize for, if Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly actually believe all that they preach daily at the Church of Fox News, and if all the tabloids at the grocery store check-out are true, exaggerated, based on assumptions, or plain lies?

In cases such as Casey Affleck, which is the center of McCracken’s article, we assume to know that he was lying about his life (or parts of it) over the past two years. The sad part is there seems to be little fact checking in the tabloid world and main stream media. In these realms of glitter, glam, and photographs, you are guilty before you are proven innocent. Worse, there are not court rooms for you to plead your innocence. As heretical as this may sound to the media junkie or realist, are the annals and details of our president, movie stars, or odd neighbor down the street ours to know or possess?

(Image: Lindsay Lohan after one of her drug run-ins. Her picture provoked the thought: how much of what the media (or her own self) reports is real?)

September 11, 2010

Facebook and Narcissism

by Vince

York University of Canada conducted a study:

Researcher Soraya Mehdizadeh from York University in Canada asked 100 students, 50 male and 50 female, aged between 18 and 25 about their Facebook habits.

They all took psychology tests to measure their levels of narcissism, which the study defined as ‘a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance’.

Those who scored higher on the narcissism test checked their Facebook pages more often each day than those who did not.

There was also a difference between men and women – men generally promoted themselves by written posts on their Facebook page while women tended to carefully select the pictures in their profile.

The findings, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour And Social Networking, also suggested that those with low self-esteem also checked their Facebook pages more regularly than normal.

This doesn’t speak well for me and my Facebook tendencies. I have been cutting back a bit lately because I feel it ends up being the same old people blabbering within their statuses. I have taken steps to go in a direction of more meaningful and authentic friendships but I am always a fool for Facebook in the end. But I would be lying to say that this didn’t speak at all to my own self-esteem issues.

PS – South Park always has a relevant clip.

August 14, 2010

Walking Social Networks

by Vince

Stephen Heiner describes his experience “unhooking” himself from his Blackberry:

We have allowed ourselves to become 24/7 radio beacons.  We are always on.  Always ready to transmit or receive.  There is a nervous habit that the younger generation has of checking their cell phones every 90 seconds or so.  Just watch them.  They didn’t hear a text message notification, but they are checking their phones just in case.  And who knows, one might feel the urge to send a text message because heck, it’s been 30 seconds since one was sent.  Watch people in airports, or in the auto repair shop, or on a university campus.  There is a constant need to check to see if they are still plugged in.  It is a nervous tic that they don’t even know is a tic.

My mom suggested that I turn off my cell phone a few times a week to let my phone company send updates to my phone. I did that tonight and I didn’t even notice until now when I read this that my phone was off for an hour. It is a nice feeling to truly cut connections with the media world we create from time to time. Facebook is to me the crave for Gmail that Stephen describes. I check it just to see if someone else has posted something interesting, knowing full well I have things I need to do.

And when communication is not limited, is not circumscribed, it becomes unlimited and tyrannous.

August 12, 2010

Tweet Away!

by Vince

WordPress just added a very simple extra feature that now allows Twitter users to tweet WordPress posts directly from the blog post.

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August 12, 2010

Facebook Off

by Vince

Check the video out here. Crazy!!

Lewis McCrary likens Facebook to the Dorm Halls:

Suddenly it seems so appropriate that Facebook was invented on a college campus. The more one reflects on it, the more the Facebook experience resembles what goes on in the hallways of college dormitories at universities everywhere: personal boundaries are reduced, many try on new slightly new personas every other week, and late-night bull sessions abound (leading to bleary-eyed mornings that also happen after too many late nights on Facebook).  Like Facebook, in college we all had a “wall,” which enabled us to present ourselves to new “friends”—mostly through cheap posters purchased the first week of classes.  We even had those little note boards on our doors where passers-by, even if only of casual acquaintance, could leave messages for all to see.  Today, those non-digital forms of social networking all seem so 1999.