Reading Round Up (17 March)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The holiday doesn’t mean all that much to me, but I will still be enjoying our family tradition of eating Irish fare for dinner tonight.

In reading this week, I’ve happened to read several articles with criticisms of social media and the way it behaves. I also happened to spend a bit of time on social media, and found someone suggesting that the issue isn’t social media, it’s our hearts that are awry. I’m not convinced by this. I think there could be social media platforms that are morally neutral, but I’m not convinced that any of the current options are. I don’t feel terribly well qualified to argue my position, but platforms that are designed to monopolize and then sell your attention, that have done little to address the multitude of issues that have developed since smartphones (and social media) became almost ubiquitous, and have made relationships more shallow, people more angry…well, there might be some cases where people manage to navigate all that, but like I said, I’m just not convinced that it’s as neutral as some would like to think. Anyway, here are some articles on the topic:

  • The PR Controversy in Social Media from Jake Meador: “It seems to me that speech on social media by its very nature cannot be actual communication. Why not? Because all speech on social media is conducted before an unseen and unknown audience and it is done for the purposes of broadcasting a person’s beliefs to that audience.”
  • The Illusion of Digital Community from Samuel D. James. Hat tip to Nancy Kelly for this one. I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy in January and she mentioned that one challenge mothers have today is how many voices we have speaking to us through social media.
  • Some Reasons why Smartphones Might Make Adolescents Anxious and Depressed from Freddie deBoer. I think this is a good summary, even if they are only ‘suppositions’. A few bad words, FYI.

My round-up is a little negative this week! Still, it’s a topic that bears thinking about.

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