27 November 2018opinion social-media philosophy
Social media is specious entertainment
The easiest determination to not participate in social media is that none of the social media companies share my values. Their practices are unsavory. It’s known that social media companies hire attention engineers, just like casinos, to make their platforms as addictive as possible. This maximizes “profit based on their users attention and data.” Facebook lies about its abilities to affect and manipulate individuals with the data it collects on them, according to a former Facebook exective.
Social media is not social. It’s well known that social media overuse causes psychological harm and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Does using social media help an individual in real social face-to-face situations? I would argue it does not and in fact would say it does quite the opposite. Ever had a conversation with someone while they are holding their phone?
Perhaps, the greatest challenge of our time is the span of our attention. Social media is developed to “fragment your attention” all hours of the day. Sean Parker of Napster fame, an early investor of Facebook, has said that social media “exploits a vulnerability in human psychology.” Even former Facebook vice president, Chamath Palihapitiya agrees. In front of an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, he expressed guilt and said,
I think we have created tools [with] short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops […] that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.
This is even more troubling because the damage to our attention can permanently reduce our capacity for concentration. Cal Newport expands further on this idea in his book titled Deep Work, where he makes a case that the ability to concentrate without distraction is vital today.
Social media is superficially pleasing and plausible at best. The seemingly goodness lacks any real merit. In my opinion, this makes social media a form of entertainment. And one that I’d rather not engage in.