John Harris has a piece at The Guardian about Peer Pressure in our socialmedia-perceived World: Death of the private self: how fifteen years of Facebook changed the human condition.
It’s full of bits I could quote and I worry about these changes in human behavior and the perception of others way more than state surveillance or tracking through capitalist advertising means. I don’t think the structural is the real problem of social media, but the individual, the true social aspects of that technology, how we perceive and judge and think about our neighbors, friends and lovers. Facebook tracking me for ads may play a part in this, but the inability to be „never seen by peers“ or the mindblowing information overload, I think, plays a far bigger role than these issues. As I said ages ago: We need net-specialized Psychology as its own subject pronto.
I remember what it was like being 16, and the minefield of peer pressure, ridicule and keeping up with the cool kids I had to navigate. Coming home each afternoon and having long spells to unwind was essential – in fact, it was in these daily quiet periods that I began to get some vague sense of who I was. If you had told me that in the near future, the noise of school would emanate from an addictive device that compelled me to carry on performing for my peers until I fell asleep, I would probably have screamed. Yet this is now the everyday reality for millions of teenagers, and we all know the likely consequences. […]
There is also a sense in which Facebook has led the way in breaking down some of the behavioural distinctions between children, youths and adults, to the point that all social media users are acting like teenagers, and experiencing the same downsides of excessive use, whichever platform they favour.
Put another way, endless performance, the craven pursuit of approval and worrying about what other people think of us might be quintessentially adolescent behaviour, but millions of people of a much more advanced age are doing exactly those things on a minute-by-minute basis, usually via Facebook. […]
It has turned the world into one big college dorm, where there is rarely any silence, and anyone of a sensitive disposition longs for a bit of me time, to no avail. Among the many arguments against Zuckerberg’s goal of “bringing the world closer together”, perhaps, is the fact that the human condition demands that we also need to regularly be apart, and alone.