Friday, September 9, 2016

The Internet is Making You a Not Nice Person (Part 1)

Let’s say you are into Pokemon Go, Knitting, and Sushi.  So you post about those things, and Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest show you stuff about those things.  Great.  Cool. That’s exactly what I wanted from my social media experience.  Or at least that’s what they are betting on and cashing in on in terms of advertising dollars. That’s business.  These companies are not non-profits with the well-being of everyone in mind.  That are for-profits, lest we forget. 

So they inadvertently, or intentionally, depending on the shade of your rose colored glasses, create a system whereby you only see information that supports your current beliefs.  

Here’s what studies say about this and why this makes you a “not nice person” (even though that’s the last thing you want),  in the following ways:
  1. Media changes how you think about yourself
  2. Media changes how you think about others
  3. Media changes your ability to assimilate new information about things you don’t know - ghettoization, balkanization, self-selection
Regarding point 1, the media portrays your standard human as skinny, fit, with perfect skin.  Depending on where you are in the world, this might mean closer to caucasian in appearance, with perfectly symmetrical features, flawless pore-less features, a good butt but not too big, etc. Eyebrows just so. The list is a long one and it varies accordingly by race, culture, and nation. But the one unifying element is that “you are not it”.  And this is rampant, not only because we love to compare ourselves to others, but that companies want you to buy things that make you feel like this “thing” will finally make you better and make you fit in.  If you are a scholarly-minded person and want to research this, the terms you want to look for are social comparison, self-perception and self-esteem (Dohnt and Tiggeman, 2006; Wilcox and Laird, 2000; Fernandez and Pritchard, 2012).  And for those who think that only women and girls are affected by this trend, research has found that men and boys are also at risk, with some resorting to bulimia and other dangerous health practices to be fit and thin.

On to point 2: the media changes how we think about others.  The scholarly term is polarization.  Right now ….

by Christine Rosakranse