January 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm #149784
Yesterday, I left for Minnesota. When I got to the DCA airport, I “checked-in” via Foursquare, tweeted that the security line wasn’t too bad, noticed on Facebook that a co-worker was on his way to the airport and told him I’d save him a seat at the gate. When I arrived in Minnesota, I checked into the MSP airport, and checked into my hotel, physically and virtually. I searched on Yelp for the best coffee shop within .5 miles, and Instagramed a picture of the view from my room.
Just like when I was learning French in grade-school, and I started to “think” and dream in French, my instincts are becoming such that I see the world through social media channels.
The world is my oyster, and it is mostly digitally documented and communicated.
Last night, before bed, I read this Atlantic article (on my Kindle, of course): “The Facebook Eye.”
A quick summary of the article can be summed up by these two lines by the author: “Simply, I have been trained to see the world in terms of what I can post to the Internet. I’ve learned to live and present a life that is “likeable.”
I recommend you read the article in full, but in short, my question to you is: how has your life been affected positively or negatively with this new “social media” eye? Or is it neutral? What do you think about the generations being raised on iPads?
January 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm #149800
Interesting. I can relate to this…but first a couple parallels:
1. In my twenties, I used to share significant life experiences with my parents. I’d call them when I was visiting an interesting city or at a unique event. In that moment, I’d think, “My mom/dad would appreciate this…”
2. On vacations or during holidays, I always have my camera on the ready. I am more keenly aware that I want to capture these special times, somehow recording them for future reminiscing and enjoyment.
3. Not only do I have the Facebook Eye, but I am inclined to return to those posts to see if anyone has commented or liked them. I want it to be something that is noticed and/or valuable to anyone who might be paying attention.
All of these behaviors represent moments when I was attuned to sharing beyond the present situation. Authors, artists and others throughout history have likely picked up pen or brush to capture the moment in similar ways. So this behavior is likely not new…but it begs bigger questions:
Why do we want to share our lives?
Does sharing somehow give our lives greater significance because we know it’s being seen by others – now and in the future?
My hunch: no one wants to be alone…or forgotten. So we share to feel significant…and we always will.
January 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm #149798
Love this response Andy. I searched on a few articles pertaining to why humans are driven to share. I didn’t find anything particularly substantive, but my instincts point to the following:
Like you said, give our lives greater significance
Be validated (the reason we so quickly go back to check to see who “liked” our posts)
Feel connected (companionship, being connected to a larger community)
Be considered a thought leader
Be perceived/associated with a certain topic
I am guessing this is all connected at its most fundamental to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – in the self actualization section of the triangle.
January 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm #149796
Another question I have for folks: if we are increasingly willing to share information, as a behavior that is increasingly becoming embedded in our psyches, how will this affect our willingness to interact and share with government?
January 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm #149794
I get what the article is trying to say–that living your life in the hopes of distilling all moments down to Facebook posts or 140-character tweets like some court reporter is unnatural…but I’d say many people always have an “eye” for something when they’re living.
Comics have an “eye” in that they are always looking for new material for their routines. The stereotypical used-car salesman has an “eye” and will treat everyone he meets like a potential customer. Politicians are always campaigning. Artists are always looking for that pattern, layout, or bit of the natural world to inspire them to create.
We don’t look down on those people as unfortunate, as the article suggests–like they’re missing out on life. It’s just how they are–sometimes. Healthy individuals know when to take a break. Sure, we’ve developed sayings like “stop and smell the roses” to combat how some people do seem to be too wrapped up in work, but we don’t decry work and say everyone should stop pursuing their trade or craft. In my opinion, the Facebook Eye phenomenon is just another example of people enthralled with a platform/lifestyle/etc., wishing to express themselves. Will people become too obsessed? Sure. Those in the developed world are creatures of excess.
And is the Facebook Eye more mainstream that the situations of comics, car salesmen, politicians, etc.? Yes. Is it unnatural? Well, I’d say it’s no more fake than we were already. Jersey Shore? Dancing with the Stars? The Super Bowl? When we were obsessing about these things day and night on the phone, at the office or during our TV shows, were we being more real then?
January 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm #149792
Matthew Wayne GonzalesParticipant
I have two conflicting views on this topic:
1. With the ability to be connected to everyone and everything at the swipe of a smartphone, I can feel a little overwhelmed when diving into social media channels. Filtering the amount of data that makes it’s way to my screen requires time, time I do not have. Thus I will sometimes not even bother to utilize social media forums in the first place.
2. Again, given the ability to connect, this is the most amazing way to communicate anything and everything, to anyone! Stories that often fell short of explaining emotions, visions, humor, etc. have now materialized into uploaded photos and real time status updates located via GPS to convey any story the way the teller would like. This allows any individual the ability to share and write their own stories, the way they want. I think this is the largest appeal for people and businesses alike.
Much like Andy said, you no longer need a camcorder or a telephone to share your experiences, you can do them with your tablet, smartphone, or personal computer.
Overall, life has improved… tremendously. At the same time, I don’t feel the greatest knowing there may eventually be a generation out there that continuously interacts with the world through a screen (Computer, TV, Tablet, Phone, Video Games, Video and Phone Messaging). At some point, something should serve as a forcing function for good old face to face experiences. There is no substitute.
January 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm #149790
If you are living a life based on how others would approve of your life, are you really living YOUR life? And, is our life really just a series of events that can be documented?
Appears that you have hit upon a few themes that Philip K. Dick wrote about in his science fiction.
January 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm #149788
January 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm #149786
Bill: I think whether having the “Facebook Eye” and you living YOUR life depends on your intention and your awareness in the sharing. If you are solely sharing with the goal of need for approval, definitely no. You are not living your own life freely, but under the shackles of pleasing others.
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