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“Northern Wasteland of Unread Updates,” “Bay of Drama,” and “Plains of Awkwardly Public Family Interactions…” I am quite pleased with this map I found online; it is a creative interpretation of the web revolution we are experiencing. I hope you enjoy it! (The map, that is, and not the revolution.)
Here is a post where you can actually read the map: Online Communities. And, this post shows the forerunner to this map, created in 2007, for a neat compare and contrast.
Although I don’t believe the eHow post on fighting Facebook addiction intended itself to be sarcastic, I found the tone hysterical. Perhaps it is my sense of humor, but see if you find these eHow recommendations amusing (italics added for effect):
“Actually call up a friend you want to reconnect with.”
“Select and print out your favorite pictures of you and your friends from the past few months. Spend an afternoon creating an album–a real one…”
“Start a real game of scrabble with your roommate.”
“Buy a crossword puzzle book. When you are bored, work on a puzzle. This is more fun and better for your brain than movie quizzes.”(Source: How to Fight Your Facebook Addiction | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/how_2192540_fight-facebook-addiction.html#ixzz1OSJLlhVt)
Think about the implications of those statements. eHow is saying that online scrabble is somehow NOT REAL SCRABBLE. And I like the fact that eHow just asserts the fact that crossword puzzles are more fun than movie quizzes. Ha! I think that is a tad bit extreme. We need some sort of clarification. Perhaps that crossword puzzles are generally more fun than movie quizzes to those whose lives are properly ordered? I don’t know, but eHow is funnily drastic.
Signing off, let me end with a quote:
“There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970)
The AFLI sincerely apologizes for the inhuman quiet on this site the last few months and for the delay as to comment-posting and the addition of new members. I do believe I have added all those who have so kindly requested to join the alliance. One weary college student can’t do it all, but know that your support is truly appreciated! Dear AFLI members, keep up your hard work and keep your sanity!
“A privacy watchdog has uncovered a government memo that encourages federal agents to befriend people on a variety of social networks, to take advantage of their readiness to share — and to spy on them. In response to a Freedom of Information request, the government released a handful of documents, including a May 2008 memo detailing how social-networking sites are exploited by the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS).”
Read about it here: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/13/government-spying-social-networks/
Also, here is part of a wonderful piece by Roger Scruton from The New Atlantis, dealing with friendships on the screen:
“When attention is fixed on the other as mediated by the screen, however, there is a marked shift in emphasis. For a start, I have my finger on the button; at any moment I can turn the image off, or click to arrive at some new encounter. The other is free in his own space, but he is not really free in my space, over which I am the ultimate arbiter. I am not risking myself in the friendship to nearly the same extent as I risk myself when I meet the other face to face. Of course, the other may so grip my attention with his messages, images, and requests that I stay glued to the screen. Nevertheless, it is ultimately a screen that I am glued to, and not the face that I see in it. All interaction with the other is at a distance, and whether I am affected by it becomes to some extent a matter of my own choosing.
In this screenful form of conducting relationships, I enjoy a power over the other person of which he himself is not really aware — since he is not aware of how much I wish to retain him in the space before me. And the power I have over him he has too over me, just as I am denied the same freedom in his space that he is denied in mine. He, too, therefore, will not risk himself; he appears on the screen only on condition of retaining that ultimate control himself. This is something I know about him that he knows that I know — and vice versa. There grows between us a reduced-risk encounter, in which each is aware that the other is fundamentally withheld, sovereign within his impregnable cyber-castle.”
Here is the link to the rest of it: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/hiding-behind-the-screen
Check thee out the new Comics section of the site!
I will be adding more later!
Also, enjoy this latest addition to the compilation of Favorite Anti-Facebook Quotes:
“The human race has susceptibility to harm but Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age.” (Eben Moglen)
Here is most of an article that appeared on the First Things website last month, edited a little for brevity’s sake. Here is a summary for those who cannot afford the time to read it through (or for those whose attention spans have been unfortunately deadened by Facebook):
The ME-culture (evidenced by Facebook, YouTube, the inflated grade system, etc.) is a recent development sickening society (especially American society) which can be traced back largely to the self-esteem movement. Narcissism is much more than vanity, it is materialistic, sometimes aggressive, and always uninterested in emotional closeness. Narcissistic personality traits have been on the rise since the 1980s, according to much data. Humility is the only real antidote for Narcissism, and humility is a specifically Christian virtue. Therefore, if we hope to purge the culture of Narcissism, we must revive the virtues of Christianity.
Now here is the real thing, which is actually somewhat of a book review, by the way:
“Of all the astonishing features of the medieval cathedrals, one feature must stand out as particularly surprising to the modern mind: We have no idea who designed and built them. In a fashion quite foreign to contemporary practice, the architects and builders did not bother to sign their names on the cornerstones. The anonymity of the great souls responsible surely seems strange to our age. Why build the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres if you can’t take credit for it? No lasting fame? No immortalized human glory? We are, if not scandalized, at the very least perplexed by the humility of these forgotten artists who labored in obscurity. Do and disappear? This is not how we roll in the America of the twenty-first century.
The artistic and cultural norm of the anonymous artist or craftsman began to change during the so-called Enlightenment. Witness Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, a book he dedicated “to me, with the admiration I owe myself.” The book opens with these lines: “I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself.” Rousseau deliberately chose his title as a response to Augustine’s work by the same name. In contrast to Rousseau’s vain self-aggrandizement, Augustine gives all glory to God, as in his opening quotation from the Book of Psalms: “Great thou art, and greatly to be praised.” One has to add, however, that even if we admire Augustine’s humility, Rousseau’s language strikes us as more familiar. “To me, with the admiration I owe myself” is a dedication that would look right at home today on a Facebook or MySpace page.
In the eighteenth century, Rousseau’s narcissism, although fashionable among the philosophes, was still something of an anomaly in the wider culture. Indeed, if you believe the statistics in the book under review, such self-conscious narcissism remained an anomaly until roughly forty years ago. Not so today, argue authors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell. The Narcissism Epidemic opens with this claim: “We didn’t have to look very hard to find it. It was everywhere.” Indeed. As the reader sifts through the evidence the authors have gathered, it becomes apparent that this is a book that could have written itself. And yet this is the first popular book on the topic since Christopher Lasch’s 1979 bestseller, The Culture of Narcissism (a book still very much worth reading, in spite of its somewhat anachronistic theoretical framework, which draws heavily on Freudian psychoanalysis). We should be grateful to Twenge and Campbell for bringing us up to date, carefully collecting and collating the evidence at hand.
…..But what is dealt with here is, in fact, more a cultural phenomenon than a clinical one. The book could be classified as sociology rather than as clinical psychology or medicine. One wonders whether the authors’ use of language derived from a medical model is the wrong approach to the sort of narcissism they describe. The individuals profiled in the book are not the wounded souls who typically visit a psychiatrist’s office in search of succor and healing. They are, instead, the student denizens of UCLA and Texas Tech and the parents who formed them—individuals supposedly healthy and well adjusted, even flourishing, by contemporary standards. And yet, when one looks beneath the surface, these are sick souls. Medicine, then, is perhaps the apt descriptive metaphor. (“Narcissism is a psychocultural affliction rather than a physical disease,” as the authors put it.)
…..The research that undergirds the book’s central thesis consists of survey data from 37,000 college students. In this sample population, narcissistic personality traits rose dramatically from the 1980s to the present, and the shift was especially pronounced in women. The rise in narcissistic traits has accelerated with each decade since the data began to be collected. The authors assemble evidence to show that these trends are generalizable to other age groups, not simply confined to the sample’s college students. The symptoms of narcissism are vanity; materialism; an inflated sense of one’s own specialness or importance; antisocial behavior; little interest in emotionally close or unselfish relationships, along with a lack of empathy; exaggerated overconfidence; and a strong sense of entitlement. Sound like anyone you know?
Twenge and Campbell correctly lay much of the blame for the epidemic at the feet of the self-esteem movement, which has been enormously influential, not only in the spheres of popular psychology and education, but also as a central tenet of the “gospel of success” message heard in many evangelical megachurches….. This Trojan horse, the authors argue, has led not to health but to rampant self-centeredness. “Narcissism causes almost all of the things that Americans hoped high self-esteem would prevent, including aggression, materialism, lack of caring for others, and shallow values,” they write. “In trying to build a society that celebrates high self-esteem, self-expression, and ‘loving yourself,’ Americans have inadvertently created more narcissists—and a culture that brings out the narcissistic behavior in all of us.” The self-esteem fad apparently has backfired, but the folks at your local public or parochial grade school don’t seem to have noticed.
…..As for the claim that some narcissism is healthy in a competitive society, the authors argue that “it would be better for everyone not to concentrate on self-feelings—positive or negative—quite so much.” The book’s language here runs against the grain of much conventional wisdom in modern psychology. The authors put the case this way: “Think about the deepest joy you experience in life—it doesn’t typically come from thinking about how great you are. Instead, it comes from connecting with the world and getting away from yourself, as when you enjoy time with friends, family, and children, are engaged at work, or do all-absorbing tasks such as art, writing, crafts, athletics, or helping others.” Twenge and Campbell are drawing here on research from the so-called positive psychology movement, which recently has attempted to shift the focus of psychological research away from disease and disorder to a study of the character strengths that make for happiness and human flourishing. In the process, this research program seems to have rediscovered the list of classical (and even Christian) virtues. Yes, forgetting about myself and giving myself generously to others is a prescription for happiness.
The final misconception, that narcissism is just another word for vanity, is incomplete: “Narcissists are also materialistic, entitled, aggressive when insulted, and uninterested in emotional closeness.” A psychiatric study found that the biggest consequence of narcissism was suffering endured by people close to the narcissist.
…..The Narcissism Epidemic traces the root causes of narcissism to the triumph of the therapeutic mentality, beginning in the 1970s; to changes in parenting styles (parents wanting their kids’ approval rather than children striving for parental approval); to celebrities who are “famous for being famous” and the media that transmit their endless, self-absorbed chatter; to the MySpace/Facebook/YouTube phenomenon (dubbed Web 2.0); and to easy consumer credit (which recently came crashing down). One could add to the authors’ list, the capitulation of schools, churches, and other mediating institutions of society to these trends and fads.
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” saith the preacher. “Hell, yeah, I’m hot!” saith the Facebook home page. This is vanity on steroids, and it is becoming the norm. From whence will we find the cure for this disease? As the authors argue, we need to implement reforms in parenting styles, the media, education, economic policy, and the tone of political and social life. No one who reads this book can reasonably disagree with these prescriptions. But we need more. The virtue of humility is the real antidote, and Twenge and Campbell endorse this. But even among the noblest pagans such as Aristotle, humility was not included among the list of virtues. Humility is a distinctively Christian virtue, grounded in the doctrine of Christ’s kenosis. It is not triumphalism, but simply a fact of history: Christianity was the leaven that shaped a more humble and humane culture; gave rise to America’s founding values; and, ultimately, prevented us from worshipping ourselves. The cure? Either we will become the salt and light that purge and dispel the insipid narcissism that surrounds us, or our culture will continue to descend deeper into the loud, crass, and aggressive cult of self-worship.”
Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., is director of residency training and medical education and founding director of the Psychiatry and Spirituality Forum at the department of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine.
The picture above is from a cartoon based off of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. It is a faithful rendition of Postman’s thoughts on a subject certainly deserving our attention.
The rest of the cartoon, which is by someone named Steve McMilen, can be found here: http://www.recombinantrecords.net/docs/2009-05-Amusing-Ourselves-to-Death.html
It will be well worth your time to look it over!
When I saw this marvelous advertisement on my beloved Dr. Boli’s celebrated magazine, I thought of Facebook. So here is my connection: Facebook breeds sloth and apathy. Facebookers waste time delighting in pictures of themselves and the soap opera lives of those they know (and don’t know). What most Facebookers don’t know is how bored they really are. Glued to a virtual world, Facebookers become impervious to the real one right behind them. Facebookers run a high risk of becoming indifferent to that which is right in front of them. Yup, rather like IndifferentMan. Ye Facebookers beware! Thou shalt become like IndifferentMan!
Friends don’t let friends get Facebook…
The following excerpt is from The Dotcomrade: The Many Faces of Online Friendship, an article by Brian Boyd on The New Atlantis:
“What does it mean, then, to be on someone’s “Buddy List,” or to be “friended,” by contrast to what it means to be a friend? And will the rising generation be able to tell the difference? Our wisest sage on the subject is Aristotle, who, in the Nicomachean Ethics, distinguishes three main types of human friendships. The lower two forms, those based on utility and pleasure, are rooted in what each expects to receive from the other; when one is no longer useful or pleasing to the other, the friendship almost surely will fade. By contrast, “the complete form of friendship is that between people who are good and alike in virtue,” where the emphasis is not upon what is gained, but rather upon the common love of the good. While online interaction can undoubtedly form and further friendships of utility (mutual survival) and pleasure (mutual interest), can it promote friendships of mutual virtue? This is surely a question that social scientists cannot fully answer, but one recent study might shed a little light on the subject. “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades,” published in the June 2006 American Sociological Review, presents data showing that Americans in 2004 had on average smaller discussion networks—that is, a smaller number of confidants with whom they “discuss important matters”—than when surveyed in 1985. According to the study, “Many more people talk to no one about matters they consider important to them in 2004 than was the case two decades ago” (emphasis added). Those surveyed in 2004 reported, on average, two “core confidants,” down from three in 1985. Why then—when the flourishing of today’s tools of communication have enabled an explosion of sociability—have the ranks of our closest confidants been diminished? Various interpretations tempt our judgment: Does the “self-creation,” or distortion, made easy by online anonymity and customizable avatars damn us to lose (as Yeats put it) “the heart-revealing intimacy / That chooses right” without which we will “never find a friend”? Does youth culture’s cry, “If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist,” reveal a generation of Berkeleyan idealists in the making, to whom “to be is to be perceived”? Or, as Ann Hulbert suggests in a recent article in the New York Times Magazine, does such data imply we are simply making better Aristotelian distinctions between friends—“a stark testament that we value a deep bond when we find it and aren’t fooled when we don’t”? The authors of the study avoid any far-reaching conclusions. But the data almost speaks for itself: Since 1985, the discussion networks of Americans have become “smaller, more densely interconnected, and more centered on the close ties of spouse/partner” even as the Internet has increased our access to a wider, more diverse, more dispersed array of social bonds. We seem to be losing confidants even as we gain an online portfolio of virtual “buddies”—living out the proverb “a friend to many is a friend to none.” In this age in which “friend” has become a verb, the most elevated kind of friendship seems ever harder to sustain.”