Due to her prestigious track record, I sure was expecting a lot more out of danah boyd’s piece, “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle.”
Don’t get me wrong it was well-written and thoughtful, but c’mon social media has made a much bigger splash than boyd lets on. Exhibit A: “There are definitely folks who fail to find balance, but most of us find a comfortable way to fit these practices into everyday life without consequence.”
Really? I was thinking to myself. Is that all you have to say about the changed social dynamics in the age of Twitter, Tinder and Facebook? My mind turned to Sherry Turkle and one of my favorite journalists, Nancy Jo Sales. I think they too would be skeptical of boyd’s idealistic tone in regards tech and media use.
Because the truth is, yes “networked technologies allow us to extend our reach, to connect across space and time,” but their impact doesn’t end there. Tech-induced isolation and using our screens as shields are growing concerns. As much as it affords us (throwback to Janet Murray), technology has become more and more involved in all that we do. And for that reason, I am wary. Trust me, I could go on for a while but given that this is supposed to be a short blog post, I’ll stop here for now.
This evening, I sat in on a presentation by two members from the Emory Counseling and Psychological Services office. They shared statistics on college students and the state of mental health nationwide. Although I have heard and read the findings in numerous classes, they never fail to shock.
Tonight I couldn’t help but consider the impact social media has had on students’ conceptions of self, anxiety levels, and thoughts of who they should be. When we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our peers and their glossed-over, filtered photos, no wonder so many people are feeling down.
I’m sure if I read more of boyd’s work, I would find that it paints a more well-rounded and truthful picture of our “Always-Lifestyle.” But this article alone left some gaping holes.