I felt like writing something, but I didn’t really have an idea to springboard off of. I asked Twitter and Facebook for a topic, and here we are. I do not guarantee factual accuracy in these provided topic posts, nor do I guarantee any semblance of reason or sense. Sorry.
From Kyle, I will write something about the corrosion of the human individual by wave after wave of the social.
With this particular topic, I had to go back for a bit of focus/clarification. I saw this topic as having at least three separate and distinct approaches:
1. The loss of real human interaction
2. A loss of individuality as we’re inundated with mass opinion
3. A loss of uniqueness as our new levels of openness show us how none of us is a snowflake
I’ve had a draft on the first approach sitting for a couple of months, which I’ll eventually get around to publishing, but it won’t be today. Today, the corrosion of the human individual by wave after wave of the social refers to a loss of individuality as we’re inundated with mass opinion. I take this to mean that social media’s exponentially expanding reach has made overwhelming cookie-cutter opinions easier for people to thoughtlessly opt into. Opinions on the Internet are boiled down into 140 characters, or a Facebook post, or a tumble thing, and consist of little more than sound bites with no real depth or discussion. It is tantalizingly easy to simply re-tweet, share, tumble thing, etc. a popular opinion; to bandwagon, and avoid critical thinking and true opinion forming.
Though political opinion is perhaps the most harrowing victim, it goes far beyond that, permeating any opinion on the Internet (of which there are more than a few). The popular Internet opinion on a subject gets thrown around often by people who spend absolutely no time independently researching the validity of said opinion’s assertions. These people are allowing our most vital ability, that of critical and rational thought, to slip away without a struggle, because it’s easier to be arrogantly ignorant than confidently educated.
Now for the turn. The Internet, and by extension social media, is not entirely to blame for this loss of individuality. All the Internet has done is facilitate it on a larger scale. Before the Internet, people were still willing to blissfully submit themselves to popular opinion…the methods were simply smaller scale and less technologically advanced: newspapers, radio, television, family, religion, neighborhoods, etc. These people have always existed, and will always exist. We just get to see a wider variety, with a louder voice, because of the Internet.
The irony is that the Internet is also the best, easiest, most readily available tool for facilitating the resurgence of critical thought and individuality, if only the will and desire existed.