I have a week and a few days left of my fall semester. In effort to end the semester right, I’m taking the weekend off from blogging. I hope you enjoy this repost, which originally appeared on the blog in Nov., 2010.:
For three weeks, I have lived entirely sans social media. For four years, I have trash talked social media. But for the first time ever, I am a little bit scared of it.
Earlier this week, a friend of mine forwarded me an article called Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction. The story, from the New York Times, is both fascinating and horrifying. In it, a 17-year-old kid said the following:
“Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.”
For years, I’ve looked for words to express that very sentiment. I’ve never quite pulled it off, nor could I say it any better than he did. Let’s face it: he’s right. But that somebody who uses and loves Facebook is the one who said it is incredibly alarming.
When a way exists to put forth zero effort and come away gratified anyway, why would the general public put forth effort? The existence of that ability lowers every bar. It conditions us to settle, and to feel satisfied after settling. It’s like Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, told the whole world that a dollar bill is as good as a hundred, and the whole world believed him. So not only does the whole world feel good about having a dollar, but it stops wanting more, stops aiming for more and forgets the value in having anything more. The industry, which also capitalizes on our culture’s unfortunate obsession with convenience, robs us of depth, effort and patience. It makes them obsolete.
What might that mean for the relationships and communication skills and work ethics of the future?
That’s the scary part.
That’s the part that says “screw you, pal!” to almost everything I have ever valued.
Click here to read the story from the New York Times.