1. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Smartphones, tablets, Facebook and Twitter - The curse of Humanity?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Komposten, May 4, 2014.

    For quite a while I've been thinking about the past, the present and the future concerning technology, social media, etc. A couple of minutes ago I found a Youtube video in my news feed on Facebook that I found amazing. The video brings up whether or not social media and digital socialisation really are social activites, or if we are getting trapped and enslaved by our own inventions.

    For example, about 10 years ago when I was a fourth grader in Primary School at the very most one third of the students in grade four and five had their own phone, and they were rare among younger kids than that. These phones were meant for calling their parents if something happened or the like.
    Four years later at least 50%, probably a lot more, of the six and seven years old kids in my school had their own smart phones.
    I just can't help to wonder where the world really is going, but to me it seems it will end up like in Asimov's "The Naked Sun", where people never leave their homes and the mere thought of meeting someone in person makes people sick.

    I'm curious as to what you, fellow forumers, think. Is there anything good at all with this development, or are humanity going at light speed towards a brick wall?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There seems to be less human-human interaction today than even a decade ago. Everything is done through email, text message, Facebook posts, etc. While things like Skype and Google Hangouts are great, nothing beats going out to a bar or restaurant with friends and having a conversation in person.

    On a related note, technology has impacted dating as well. I know a couple who had their first date over Skype. I actually find that romantic in a weird sort of way.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Things like Facebook are interesting, social media, because basically the NSA doesn't need to read your messages to know what you might be thinking, they just need to befriend you on Facebook. I'm always amazed, and very unnerved, by just how much personal information goes onto Facebook. One of my friends even posts about every time he has sex - and everyone he knows is fine knowing this, they rarely negatively comment, they just pass over it without much thought.

    I think what worries me about Facebook is it seems to make people apathetic to personal information, and that I think could be very dangerous.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    When I was in 4th grade, cellphones were Science Fiction and only Captain Kirk had anything even remotely similar.

    [​IMG]

    Watch the film Warm Bodies. It looks like a zombie movie, but really it's not. It uses the zombie trope as a goof to talk about the very question you are asking.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think what you mean is 'face to face' interaction. I'm human, and given the state of AI, I assume you are human and we are interacting.

    It's a huge social change, but there is good along with the bad.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    One good thing that I see about Internet interaction is that people can have a circle outside the circle of people that they have geographic access to. As someone who as a kid had no friends in junior high, and almost no friends in high school, this appeals to me.

    I was officially deemed "unpopular" and it was therefore unsafe (in terms of in-school social position) to have anything to do with me. Online, that wouldn't have been an issue. My interests were not similar to the interests of other kids. Online, I probably could have found people with similar interests.

    Also, I'm an introvert, at least in the sense that in-person interaction with other people drains me of energy. Online interaction doesn't. So the Internet probably mean that I get far more human interaction, if not face-to-face interaction, than I would otherwise.

    I'm wondering (I'll go off and Google sometime soon) if anyone's done a study comparing Internet use by introverts versus use by extroverts. For example, Facebook and Twitter don't appeal much to me. I don't do selfies. Instead, I blog, and I post on forums. I wonder if that pattern reflects other introverts?
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    While this possibility scares me
    I would argue that overall, there's much more human interaction today then before social media and the internet, Skype, instant messaging, emails etc. As to the quality of those interactions, that's a different story, but if we postulate that the vast majority of human experience happens in the mind, then a lot of this type communication is not necessarily bad, as long as it's evenly matched. For example, emails. Previously, if you were doing business, arranging meetings, organising something, you either had to write a letter, which was ok, but it cost money, had to be posted and was felt to be rather formal way of communicating, or you had to spend a lot of time and energy relating to people in person or on the phone. Today, one can answer dozens of emails, sometimes quite personably, in their own time, time differences are no longer an issue, and the message is received instantly. The generations who were born after all this technology became available, might have a difficulty imagining what the world was like without all this, but it was happening not even twenty or thirty years ago.

    Or say culture. I've seen more artworks today, just visiting my account on deviantArt, then I would have in a month, before the internet and YouTube.

    However, if a person is replacing sexual contact with another with internet pornography or cyber sex, for example, then that isn't an adequate match, because what we get from sex is largely based on physical contact with another person, thus trying to replace it with purely visual may lead to more problems then what the ease of access to it and low energy cost would warrant.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  8. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you can add me to your pattern. :p
    I use Facebook, but only to chat (rarely) and receive information about canceled classes etc. And yet I have over 250 posts on this forum. What you say about face-to-face interaction is also a exactly the same for me. As it comes to online chats I sometimes even feel a need to talk to people, even though I'm a rather antisocial normally.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm one of those introverts who can be very sociable, out of need or habit, but crowds drain me and need alone time at regular intervals. Also, I hardly ever share personal information unless it's with very close friends and family, which isn't necessarily the case on the internet. I'm never bored when I'm alone, always have loads of things to do. If it wasn't for the social pressures I had growing up, and absence of the internet, I might have been a lot more withdrawn.

    So, I can't say that I prefer one style of communication to the other, but both have a place in my life. I have no issue with public speaking and can strike a conversation with anyone, but I definitely prefer having a lot more choice of who I interact with in person on daily basis, and internet gives me that.
     
  10. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I think there's pros and cons with social media. I've had Facebook since it's first year...I think I was a freshman in college when it came out. I was one of very few in my circle who went cross country and it was great being able to keep in touch with friends and fam back home. My mom, who is in her early 50's, just got one a couple years ago and has reconnected with a lot of her friends from school (she lived in Brazil until she came to the States for college) that she hadn't seen in over 30 years. I'm also one who doesn't 'friend' people I don't personally know. What I don't like though is how if I make an online purchase, or even sometimes just browse for a certain item, that all of a sudden that exact thing and related items are plastered all over my newsfeed in advertisements. That creeps me out.

    I've only recently made a Twitter account and that I use for networking and its completely separate from my social/personal life.

    As for cell phones, I got my first on my 16th birthday because I was driving and my parents wanted it for emergencies. That was before texting and when the only cool game available was Snake, lol. My 2 and 4 year old can maneuver through our smart phones now ridiculously well but they won't be getting their own anytime soon. I've seen those kid safe ones that are pre-programmable with only four or five number for calling in and out, with no games, internet, etc. and may allow one of those.

    People used to say the same negative things when email first became popular but convenience eventually won them over. Now it's exciting to get personal letters in the mail because it happens so infrequently. This generation has become accustomed to instant gratification and that is where I find the biggest issue. I've seen people get so frustrated when they can't find something on Google and these are the same people who remember when you had to flip open a phone book, use a map instead of GPS, or go to a library to use the encylopedias for research. Newton's Third Law seems to apply...with each technological advancement and advantage the opposite reaction created is impatience in a now "on the go" world.
     
  11. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love working with people and talking to them face-to-face-- probably a symptom of growing up very isolated. I actually get annoyed when girls just feel like 'chatting' over texts-- to a point where I cut those conversations short because I value face time so much more.

    It is, at times, a little disturbing to see people glued to social media, videogames, net... but there are so many benefits that I'm not going to say something is bad just because it isn't always used for the best.
     
  12. David D Bryce
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    David D Bryce New Member

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    I will sum up everything about today's over saturated consumer tec age with this one very concise sentence.

    Minimal convince at a premium price.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You mean convenience, right?
     
  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I think the biggest concerns regarding social media are accountability, responsibility, and restraint. As someone who was firmly adamant about not joining Facebook, back in 2009 when my friends were urging me, I'm surprised at myself for becoming so involved with internet interaction at all. For me, social media exploded in high school, when somehow or other I went from "that quiet kid who reads at lunch" to unbelievably popular (like people I'd never met somehow knew me). At that point, it became "important" to connect with people and build up contacts and expand.

    It became so big for me because my home life, while not bad, simply was not what I was interested in. I had built my character, identity, and meaningful relationships at school, and social media allowed me to extend interaction to whomever happened to be online. I met people to whom I never would have spoken in person. I have friends today with whom I've grown closer via Facebook, than we ever did in person. I think this is partly due to the barrier that is put up between people on he internet. We can be whoever we want without anyone ever having to know the truth, and we can talk without having to be wholly accountable.

    Likewise, for youth-minded users like me and my peeps, it's also acted as a platform for unfiltered thoughts. Look at twitter. You have like 160 characters per tweet or something like that, just enough to share a quick thought. And you can post as many as you want and direct them @ people almost anywhere as long as you're connected. I tweeted an actor from a show I watch and he actually tweeted back! Just today I read french woman's advertisement for her new (and first novel) and congratulated her (in french) and she actually responded. I'm considering buying the book.

    Not to mention all of the comment sections everywhere... The internet itself is just a large network and quickly becoming a platform for all kinds of interactions. Just look at us here. Sure many of us write and do other things in the real world, but we meet here at various times from places all over the world. I've met some truly phenomenal people here and have learned so much.

    What does this have to do with accountability, responsibility, and restraint? Well... recall what I said about Facebook being an open platform for personal thoughts and interaction. We, as users, have to understand that what we say has weight and can't be taken back so easily. Even deleting a comment doesn't erase it from the minds of those who saw it or the facebook archives (right away that is). We have to recognize that what we share reflects something about us, for better or worse. Then we must take responsibility for what we put up so that we don't attract the wrong kind of attention to ourselves and/or others. That takes restraint--to be willing to not share something that other people have no business knowing.

    But social media has this allure. It is designed to be user-centric. By that I mean, all of these features are built in for users to proclaim to the world, "Look at me and what I'm doing and where I'm doing it! Aren't I cool, like me so I know I'm cool." And people send out their approval in likes. The internet connects the world in a huge way, and now we have a stage to broadcast to a huge audience. Sometimes we don't want to, but that's where responsibility comes in.

    I think the danger comes in when people become too attached to the people in the screen, than those in their immediate area. And that can happen easily when all you do is talk. sometimes you form these strong bonds and get to know people so well, that they feel like family, but you forget you have family at home waiting for your attention. That's why I had to cut my facebook down by 400 people and delete my twitter and start fresh. Now I only talk to people I actually communicate with regularly and/or in person. I will post personal things but nothing damaging or negatively directed at others.

    The only other danger, now, is the advent of smartphones and ways to carry the internet and social media with us. Tell me why I can be talking to you, txting a girl in Cali, and facebooking someone else all at once. Or going for a hike ad still holding a conversation. Or waking up and talking to people hundreds of miles away within 8 seconds and throughout the day simply with these devices. They enable us to be connected in a way that I think we've naturally wanted to for a long time. We have the power to pick our friends and stay attached for as long as we can talk. This is dangerous because it feeds int addiction, obsession, and or dependency. It feeds the immediate gratification impulse to an astonishing degree.

    All this to say I'm impressed and in awe of the strides we're making technologically, but I think it comes at a personal price if one is unaware of how much one is feeding the invention. I can spend hours on the computer interacting here, on fb and on twitter. What stops that is my accountability to myself. I know I deserve better and need to be more responsible with my time and energy. On the bright side, the internet has helped to make me more confident person. So I can meet people in person and hold a conversation. I think parents just have to be responsible for how much they allow children to get involved. It will change a persons sense of value and true interaction. The internet is a world within our world in which there are very few limits. If you can type it, you can be it, say it, imagine it... It's all possible, but you have to understand the power that comes with the tool.
     
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  15. David D Bryce
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    David D Bryce New Member

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    Yes but somewhere between dyslexia and a spell checker i well spelled it wrong
     
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  16. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find social media extremely popular with my generation, which is kinda weird concerning we discovered Facebook and Twiter in our late 20s :) Problem is, if some of my friends do act responsible and mature about their privacy, a huge number of 30+ people I know act as moronic as average teenagers when it comes to using social media (no offense, teenagers ;) ) I limited my time on Facebook, for example, when people I don't know started posting photos of their newborns, seconds after birth (blood and placenta all over). Babies should have privacy, I think, and seeing parents sharing the most private and intimate moments of their children with people they don't know - that's just unhealthy...

    But no, I don't think we are literary going towards Asimov's Solaria (any more than towards 1984 or Brave New World) - although it's a good reminder of what the ultimate danger is. People feared the telephone would kill social life, and 20th century proved to be more "social" than any previous century (in more ways than one). We can always try and teach ourselves, and our children, to use technology for what it was ment to be used: phones for talking, internet for sharing information. Wheels for rolling, doors for leaving the room ;)
     
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  17. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    We are totally going towards Brave New World. The people there were very social and there was no outright oppression like in 1984. They were just dumb (happening), promiscuous (happening), and distracted (totally happening).
     
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  18. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @123456789 in a way... but yet, Huxley wrote about the future of the society contemporary to his early 1930's *despite the Revisited essay), not about our contemporary 2010's society. Which, despite being superficially (technologically) similar, still isn't the same thing. For example, while the World State is global and essentially (and paradoxically) undiscriminating (one gets what he wants and cannot want what he cannot get), the Global Culture is still parochial, capitalist and class-oriented (as opposed to caste system of the World State), not to mention patriarchal (family-oriented) which is something the Savage can't deal with.

    The main difference, I think, is that an average citizen (and they are all average) of the World State is happy, while an average citizen of the modern world is unhappy. :)
     
  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, gee, if you're gonna get all technical on me.... :S Then yeah you're right
     
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  20. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since we're being all objective now, from my own observations I have to say cell phones, internet, etc, are more enablers for antisocial behavior than they are causers.

    If a girl wants to talk to you in the elevator, her phone will magically disappear. If people are at the park walking their dogs, or at the beach, they're mingling in person. I haven't really noticed social skills being all that much worse, either, unless I wouldn't know the difference :\
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
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  21. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @123456789 khm:
    [​IMG]
    :D
     
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  22. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what I'm saying. It's a funny picture, but I personally don't observe this. And if it happens, its only for short periods of time.
     
  23. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's actually an excellent essay on the subject, Andrae! I think you've covered lots of angles.

    I think the social aspects of this issue will find their own levels, eventually. The only thing that really concerns me is the control that a faceless entity could exert over all of us, if they ever wish to. So far, it all seems innocent, but I'm not convinced it will remain so.

    You already hear about employers automatically checking people's Facebook and Twitter pages—and if you don't have a social media presence, you're automatically out of the running. While this ties in with your point that we have to learn to be responsible about what we post ...I still don't like it. That means you are constantly needing to look over your shoulder at an interaction which SHOULD be under your control, and your control only.

    Employers who insist on obtaining access to your private Facebook pages—as a requirement for applying for a job—should be dumped like a shot, in my opinion. And reported? Somewhere? That's no different from them requiring you to turn over all the post you send and receive. Or allowing them to tap your phone, or handing them a transcript of all your email interactions over the past two years, or whatever. Just because they CAN, doesn't mean they should.

    I think it's not the technology itself we need to worry about, so much as how it gets accessed, and how it gets used by third parties.

    At the moment, devices to access the internet cost a great deal of money. This puts people on very low incomes at a huge disadvantage. A study was just done here in the UK about this very subject, and it turns out (surprise, surprise) that people on low incomes are the ones least likely to use the internet. Why? Well, simply, they struggle to access it. Buying a used or old model device doesn't really help, because they become obsolete too soon. That's essentially throwing good money after bad. And sometimes the 'contracts' with internet providers are just too expensive, no matter what device you own. This isn't a future risk, by the way. It's already happening.

    I also worry, to some extent, about what happens if it all fails on a country-wide or worldwide scale. All you need is an extended power cut, and your online banking is gone, your access to online bill payment is gone, your access to friends and family is gone as soon as your batteries are dead and there is no place to charge them up. And even if you've got a solar-powered charger (great invention BTW) that will do you no good if the other parties don't have them as well!

    If you own a business, and it's not based ENTIRELY on having a local shop, stocked by local suppliers, you're in deep doo-doo very quickly. Power cuts mean we can't run our appliances, heat our homes, etc. It can all get very nasty very quickly—just ask folks who endured the extended power cuts this past winter. ATMs don't work, automatic doors to supermarkets don't work ...blah de bla. It doesn't take much for the whole thing to fall apart.

    This interconnectivity and reliance on electrically-based technology makes us extremely vulnerable. I'm not sure what an individual can do about it either. Maybe create a Plan B, as much as you can. Technology is here to stay ...at least until it all fails on a massive scale and we enter the post-apocalypse!
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
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  24. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What's shown on that picture is generally what I see every time I'm out eating in restaurants, etc. I can usually observe at least one smartphone per table though there are often more. Sometimes it seems that going out together means sitting at the same table in the same café, yet talking to different people on your phones.

    The distraction phones seem to create steals time from everyone in the phone's vicinity, while it might seem to the person using it that time is being saved.
     
  25. We Are Cartographers
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    We Are Cartographers Active Member

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