The history of you is online, does this make us more wary of our behaviours, of our attitudes?
It has to change our general demeanour. When you are able to look up someone on Linkedin before a meeting, or view someone’s profile before you meet them, it changed the way we frame the other person in our mind.
We see someone that someone is athletic, or likes an activity or something specific, and we hone in on that and drive conversations towards the preconceived notion.
And on the other hand, we know people do this, and we get that, so we present our picture perfect selves. Perhaps not necessarily, picture perfect, but we do present ourselves in a light that makes us look how we imagine ourselves to be. Which is kind of based on our perception of others.
A bit of a feedback loop here. Or maybe even some game theory between ourselves.
It’s not that it’s negative, in some cases it enables us to have conversations and interaction we might have never had!
But in some cases, by focusing on certain things, it blocks conversations that might have otherwise happened. That’s what scares me , or rather makes me sad — these missed conversations.
But on the other other hand, if we we’re only having those missed conversations, we might not find common ground that we would have found otherwise. Kind of playing devils advocate with myself here.
This is not a self help article, with a solution on how to give up social media and set yourself free. It’s just an observation to be cognizant of as we develop relationships - old and new -with people across the world.
Perhaps one element that is truly negative, however, is social polarization. It is becoming more evident that peoples views heavily lean to certain sides, as they always have, but at an increased pace and spectrum. Of course there are multiple factors, but one that is extremely apparently is confirmation bias, which is when you disagree with options that don’t match your own, and you agree with those that do.
It’s always been this way, so it’s not a new phenomenon, but in the age of news feeds and likes, we are exposed ever more rapidly to things we like, or agree with, and consequently shut out, or block the recipricol of that.
This shows an example of how polarization has changed over time.
Nothing else to add, except , be aware of both sides, because there’s merit to the basis of peoples understanding and views.
Maybe, just maybe, we can all learn something from each others perspective.
Then again — did you just read this because you agreed with my view and thought about the impact of social media? And did I just write this because I’ve seen my friends agree with me, or have a news feed that echoes and encourages these thoughts?
We’ll never know, the lines are all blurry.
Privacy and the world wide police state
The other thing I often wonder about, is when we know so much of us is online, and we have to maintain reputations, etc. Does this make us more inhibited then we would otherwise be?
We all like to have fun, and sometimes that fun is a little more on the edge. Constantly looking over your shoulder, in public, or private changes those dynamics.
I was discussing with a colleague the other day, and we were on a tangent about peoples information on blockchain and how when it is implemented fully, makes sure everyone always has access to their own history and information etc. Then he said one thing:
If everything is recorded permanently, that means no one has a second chance.
That really stuck with me, and it raises all kinds of questions. Among all the benefits, there are so many things to be wary of.
But it’s part of us now, how we deal with it and integrate it into our lives is our own choice, and there’s no right or wrong — just opinions (which might be biased to what you believe in!). It’s not exactly 1984, but in its own way, it kind of is.