The Myth of Social Media

Modern Keyboard With Colored Social Network Buttons.How many friends do you have? Well now that is a complicated question isn’t it? Are we talking Real Life Friends? Work Friends? School Friends? Facebook Friends?

In an interesting article from The New Yorker entitled The Limitations of Friendship , it discusses the actual number of people another human can logistically care about…in essence. A really smart dude by the name of Dunbar came up with algorithm that mathematically discovered how many people humans are actually capable of being “friends” with.  He takes into account the different kinds of friendship, but ultimately the number of people he claims a person can be a part of your true intimate emotional support group is 5. Yup…5… 5 whole people.

Social Media has changed the way we interact…and don’t. It has also changed the way we view the concepts of friendship and cultural acceptance.  In a way, we can be whomever we want to be on Facebook.  We can portray our lives through photographs and status updates in whatever fashion we’d like.

Now, I know many won’t agree with me, but I believe that Facebook in particular is doing a great disservice to the human race when it comes to the illusion of real connection.  In general, much of our technology and connectivity is actually pushing us away from one another, making us disposable, and training us how to disengage.  Over the next few posts I am going tackle each one of what I believe to be the three biggest culprits of intimacy destroying influences. In tandem, I have decided to conduct my own experiment..

I have uninstalled Facebook and Snapchat from my phone.  These are the two biggest time wasters for me.  I have an almost Pavlovian response to notification alerts, and I am ready to try unplugging for a while.  My Facebook account is still active so that I can post about my blog, but hopefully, if all goes well, I will be Facebook free by the end of the year. That all being said, I recognize that in a way, I am cutting off my own nose to spite my face…book.

The really shitty part of all of this is that I realize that even if I find a way to live without Facebook, the very act of me leaving Facebook is going to isolate me from society.  Let’s be honest, there might be a handful of individuals who throw up their laptops and cry “NO MORE!!” …but that still leaves the majority of the population who choose to conduct most of their social interactions online.  I realize that this means I will probably miss out on parties, events, job opportunities, and dating options, but I suppose I am fed up enough with all of it at the moment to not really care. I’m fed up with this passive culture.  I want to reconnect with people, to the world, to life.  It’s been 5 days since I began this experiment and I already feel less anxious.  There are moments where I feel like I am missing out, and that “life” is happening without me, but overall, I actually feel…better.

Just for the record. I fully acknowledge the hypocrisy of posting my blog updates on Facebook. Like I said…in a way Facebook is like a frozen accident.  It would take more effort to undo what we’ve done, than it would to just sorta deal with the negative aspects.  Be that as it may, it is what it is for now.


One response to “The Myth of Social Media

  1. I read an interesting article a while ago about the “5 people”. It said that each of us is basically as combination of the 5 people we see most. I don’t know if I totally agree with that assessment or with Dunbar’s claims, but it’s definitely food for thought.

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