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posted by n1 on Saturday April 19 2014, @06:39AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the antisocial dept.

Social media enables us to be increasingly connected and informed about even the most insignificant minutiae of the lives of everybody in our circles, however, it can also distance us from others:

I think there are a lot of fears of what's happening that we've made interactions with other people too impersonal and a distancing phenomena is taking place.

Psychologist Krystine Batchco, quoted above, explained that how a person interacts with others online is different than face-to-face interactions. But that's all common sense to us, right?

Have you encountered anybody you've seen change negatively over time as a result of social media's effects? There are obvious examples like trolling or bullying, but what about more subtle behavioral changes which gradually spill over into the real world?

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by clone141166 on Saturday April 19 2014, @07:28AM

    by clone141166 (59) on Saturday April 19 2014, @07:28AM (#33302)

    Like people actually saying "lol" instead of laughing?

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:24PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:24PM (#33339) Homepage

      Plenty of hipsters around here actually say "hashtag," using a hand gesture to punctuate it before saying what they're actually hashtagging. As an example, they'll say something like, "hashtag, bacon!"

      Of course, hipsters are scum and should be beaten to death with a ham.

      • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Monday April 21 2014, @02:04PM

        by JeanCroix (573) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:04PM (#33957)
        I use social media to distance myself from hipsters.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by lennier on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:55AM

    by lennier (2199) on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:55AM (#33310)

    In my experience, "social media" (by which I mean the whole range of online communication technologies dating back to the 1970s) doesn't quite so much 'distance' people as it does disinhibit them and then shock them with the reality of what their friends actually believe, but normally mask out from more formal contexts.

    On Facebook, for instance, where my friends group is usually people I know or groups I've voluntarily chosen to join, the overwhelming majority of communication I see is positive. Yes, a lot of it is vapid fluff - cat photos, pictures of people's meals and memes - but it's the very banality of the fluff that can make a very powerful emotional reinforcement. Just seeing a photo from a friend you haven't heard from in a while reminds you that they're alive, well, and happy, and makes you feel that much more connected. And the social media isn't replacing real-life interaction for me - instead it's enhancing it. Without social media I wouldn't be connecting with that friend at all; they'd move away, and then just vanish from my life, and years later I'd wonder vaguely what they were doing. With social media, a friend can move away but the connection remains. It's basically - at worst - a keepalive-ping connection for your distant/absent friends group.

    (Sidebar: This is why, IMO, younger people tend to not grasp Facebook's use pattern these days and older people tend to understand it. The younger you are, the less likely you are to have friends you're not directly interacting with, or even understand the concept of distant/absent friends. Yes, there is life after college. There's life after your first job. And no, you can't always keep in touch with everyone you've ever met in real life by getting in a car or picking up a phone. And yes, you sometimes want to.)

    On Twitter, I find the experience a little more clinical and detached; my connections there aren't always friends but more news feeds and sources. So I tend to see more in the way of flame wars and ingroup-outgroup fights. They tend to be more visible to me on Twitter than on the rest of the Web because on Twitter the entire Net is aggregated in one place; on the wider Web, I just avoid the forums of social groups whose viewpoint I'm not likely to enjoy. On Twitter (and to some extend Facebook when a friend turns out to have differing political views from me), they tend to become a lot more in my face.

    So I don't believe the Internet distances people from each other more than people already are distanced. I think the opposite happens: the Internet allows otherwise perfect strangers who would normally never interact, to meet each other. The invisible becomes visible. And when that happens, shock often results, and following shock, anger and hatred. Combine that with the triple-whammy disinhibition effect of partial anonymity, writing in text and being a member of an in-group who shares the same views, and people are much more likely to express their emotional reactions to perfect strangers rather than hide them in order to get along, as they do at work or on the bus.

    And to an outside observer, shocked by these apparently unmotivated displays of strong emotion, abusive behavior, and plain hatred, it may look like the Internet is 'distancing people' or 'creating lack of empathy'. But I think it's more that it's revealing (and possibly enhancing, by allowing almost any view to find likeminded company) a lack of empathy which was already there.

    The 'email might be socially harmful' argument has been around a long while though. I would recommend reading Jacques Vallee's (yes the UFO guy - he was also an Internet guy!) prophetic 1982 book "The Network Revolution [jacquesvallee.net]" which predicts the rise of social media and that it would have profound effects on human communication, and is also profoundly unsure what those effects would be.

    --
    Delenda est Beta
  • (Score: 1) by BasilBrush on Saturday April 19 2014, @09:21PM

    by BasilBrush (3994) on Saturday April 19 2014, @09:21PM (#33448)

    "Social media enables us to be increasingly connected and informed about even the most insignificant minutiae of the lives of everybody in our circles, however, it can also distance us from others."

    On the same theme:

    o A kitchen hob enables us to cook even the most unhealthy foods, however it can also burn the house down.
    o A phone not only enables us to talk the most inane gossip to our friends, however it can also be a source of unwelcome cold calls.
    o A car not only enables us to make pointless trips to the shops, however it can also result in accidents.

    The reality is that Facebook is a tool that you use as you want. It's been just as positive for my life as these other tools.

    --
    Hurrah! Quoting works now!
  • (Score: 2) by khchung on Sunday April 20 2014, @01:12AM

    by khchung (457) on Sunday April 20 2014, @01:12AM (#33502)

    The telephone enables us to be increasingly connected and informed about even the most insignificant minutiae of the lives of everybody in our circles, however, it can also distance us from others:

    I think there are a lot of fears of what's happening that we've made interactions with other people too impersonal and a distancing phenomena is taking place.

    Psychologist ___________, quoted above, explained that how a person interacts with others on the phone is different than face-to-face interactions. But that's all common sense to us, right?

    Have you encountered anybody you've seen change negatively over time as a result of the telephone's effects? There are obvious examples like trolling or bullying, but what about more subtle behavioral changes which gradually spill over into the real world

    As an exercise for the readers, replace telephone with written letters in the above and see if you can detect any difference.

    Yay, let's all go back to live in caves, as ANY VALUABLE TECHNOLOGY is going to change how people behave, and OMG THAT IS BAD!