Do we have too many friends?

Do we have too many friends? Many modern people of all ages have Facebooks or twitters or instragrams, or whatever the newest craze is in the social media corner of the Internet world. Most of you reading this will have already read the article New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture by Vincent Miller so I won’t be too boring by repeating what he said. Although for those of you who have read the article Vincent bring up some excellent points on the evolution of social medias and how it morphs our views on social interactions.

“For Wittel, these social relations become primarily ‘informational, not ‘narrative’. What he means by this is that communications between people become more ephemeral and more akin to an exchange of data than deep, substantive or meaningful communication base on mutual understand” (Vincent 390).

We as a social media society have become so over saturated in the recent years with personal information about others we have become numb to it. It is in fact not uncommon to see people throw their personal problems or lives into the public sphere of the Internet only to be met with unemotional responses. Two people announce their getting engaged on Facebook, and they receive a bundle of “likes” for their effort. Someone writes a long post complaining about how cruel another person was to them and their “friends” read this and are left only annoyed with the person putting up such a lengthy post.

People have become to used to having a window into others lives they react more to how they would if watching the same events on a movie screen rather than reacting to the real emotions of a real person. Know of course this very well could be a symptom of the fact that social media is absorbed through a screen rather than from a person. There is something distant about the screen that puts a huge barrier between the user and the screen’s contents.

A professor of mine was recently speaking on a similar issue when discussing media oversaturation. He talked about 9/11 and how on that day when watching the clips of the airplanes flying into the towers over and over he began to feel numb to it, the more one watches the clips less the images on it feel like real life and more like a movie, and in so many ways that is awful but the same thing is happening to social interaction. We no longer really see what is being written as emotional or even real, but just information.

This seems like a bad thing but is inevitable when working in a universally connected world. The Mona Lisa is probably a beautiful thing if you don’t see it so many times before visiting it and have every color memorized. This is just something to think about when continuing to consume media, especially when reading the class blog and having to go over so many blogs that all blend together, remember an individual wrote each one of these posts, poured time into it, and maybe that is easy to forget when seeing it through a screen.

 

Work Cited

Miller, Vincent. “New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture.” Sage Journals 14.4 (2008): 387-400. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://con.sagepub.com/content/14/4/387.full.pdf+html&gt;.

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