Tuesday, 5 December 2017

SOCIAL MEDIALAND: an evil empire? Or harmless useful tool?

Erkki, get out your BIG guns because I've got plenty of ammunition. User addiction to smartphones and social media like other hardcore drugs it's hard to kick the habit. They are designed to get you hooked.When I shot gottaGETinTOUCH, a rap video about cell phone addiction, almost all the subjects looked the same: heads bent, zoned-out, fingers dancing on the keyboard. Flesh and blood humanoids. The SM version of 'Night of the Living Dead'. I can hear Erkki say, 'Hey, wait a minute.' And give me a dozen examples of how the internet has changed the way we live for the better. True. Movements such as #metoo are perfect examples. And yes, the internet is a great way to keep in touch with family, friends, business contact, get news and information in nanoseconds. But, smartphones and social media are also designed to be addictive.
gottaGETinTOUCH (2016)

A whole new, sometimes weird culture has evolved. For instance, South Koreans, are among the world's most prolific texters. According to the New York Times, some of the most addicted users have developed bigger thumps. Thumbers are pros, Indexers are amateurs. The language of texters is acronyms. Of course, there's an online list. Your smartphone's predictive can write your bio: type 'I was born @therealbradg. JK Rowlings tied it. 2 million others tried it too. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google observed that every two days we generate as much information as was created in the entire history of civilization until 2003. When Erkki wants some info, he whips out his phone and talks to it (in English). It answers right back. People who can't navigate in this high technosphere are NETbehinders.

Two teenagers heard the lyrics to gottaGETinTOUCH. They screamed.'That's us, can we be in it'? I told them that I had read girls, on average, texted about 100 times a day.They said, 'At least.' (boys average around 60). Anyone with half a brain, knows kids are among vulnerable. Two books on social media have made the top of the New York Times non-fiction best-sellers list: 'Regaining Conversation' by Sherry Turkle, a media scholar at MIT (Massachusetts Institue of Technolgy) and 'Irresistible' by Adam Alter. If you're a parent buy them both. It's no secret that smartphones and SM sites encourage constant use by giving rewards for checking in all the time. According to USA TODAY, teenage suicides are rising – school and the internet are to blame. Many top tech execs enroll their children in private schools, such as WALDORF, where young students are not allowed any electronic device. One thing is as certain, we can't put this genie back into the bottle. Over to you Erkki.

PS: Erkki told me not to worry about typos and misspelled words. His computer has an automatic spellcheck. Whew. What a relief.

Sources: New York Times, Financial Times Weekend, The ECONOMIST, USAToday

Next week: MolestSTARS: how the internet helped bring some bad dudes down

I use Grammarly, which in addition to spell-checking does some rudimentary grammar checks: punctuation etc. It's pretty neat, IMO.

- Eki

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