Electronic communication has expanded over the course of history. The idea that people are able to be connected though different forms of media, whether it be though the telegraph or text messaging. As Volti states in chapter two, “technological changes, both major and minor, often lead to a restructuring of power relations, the redistribution of wealth and income, and the alteration of human relationships,” with the last effect being the most important in the influence of human behavior (Volti, 2011, Winners and Losers, 2). Social relationships and human behavior are intertwined, especially people’s desires for attention. Today, “there have never been more ways to communicate with one another” (Baym, 2015, New forms of personal connection, 1). Therefore, there are even greater opportunity to enhance relationships and alter how we are perceived. However, with the more ways to communicate and the ever-increasing capability to store information, there is a decrease in the need for memory and an increase in the need for attention from others.
Teenagers and young adults in today’s society are demonstrators of the social changes in social groups since the past. The group of teenagers in the Frontline documentary, “Generation Like,” showcases the importance of social media and attention in today’s teens. In “Generation Like” the focus was on how people are obsessed with receiving as many “likes” on social media platforms as they can. It was presented that “the more likes you have the better you feel” applying the aspect of instant gratification that millennials strive for when they post on social media. One example was one fan of “The Hunger Games” who shared “The Hunger Games” media on her social media platforms and in return, she received “sparks” for how many times she shared material and how many likes and shares she received. The more sparks the higher in rank. All the while, “The Hunger Games” campaign is getting their product out in the world. This company uses their fans to market, basically turning them into workers without pay. This is a concept that other companies utilize in order to spread their message. All of it is marketing and free marketing for companies. Therefore, the social group of “The Hunger Games” altered how the girl lived her daily life and what she desired. She worked hard to get more “sparks” and to move up in the leaderboard because the more you had the bigger a fan you were. She wanted to let everyone know that she was the biggest “Hunger Games” fan in the world and therefore, her behavior changed to accomplish this goal.
Follow the link to watch the Frontline documentary, “Generation Like”: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/
Human behavior of curiosity is another aspect that has been impacted by media. With the introduction of the television, social groups could learn and observe another social group. Men saw the world of women and vice versa. But, one group that could learn about another group is children and adults. For the first time, children were able to know what goes on behind closed doors when their parents are engaged in conversation. Meyrowitz explained this in the article, “We Liked to Watch: Television as Progenitor of the Surveillance Society” noting that children “learned about the ways in which adults perceived and treated children” and more importantly the “adult secrets” that before, children never knew about (Meyrowitz, 2009, We Liked to Watch, 36). An example of this is in the show, “Father Knows Best,” which is a 1950s-television show that depicted a typical American family. However, the show also showed the many sides of parents. In one episode, one of the daughters was giving a speech about her father that she wanted him to attend. However, the father had to attend a work event instead, as it was important to his job, even though he promised his daughter he would be there to see her speech. However, the secret about adults that children learned from this episode is that the mother told the father to go to work instead of attending the speech reading. This showcased that the mother had more authority than it would seem in person, as the show was entailed “Father Knows Best” for a reason, however, in this episode, the father didn’t know best. Children were then impacted by this show a notion that adults did not always know best and therefore, the human behavior of children was impacted because they would then question what their parents did and told them because the adults had been depicted in television shows to be different than they presented themselves in person.
Follow the link to watch this episode of “Father Knows Best”: https://view.yahoo.com/show/father-knows-best/episode/60557408/father-s-biography
Human behavior is affected by electronic media in the way that people feel lonelier now than they have in the past and they desire to be liked by others. Baym says that “the rise of visible social media metrics, such as followers, likes, retweets, subscribers, shares, and so on can become a measure of self-worth,” which impacts the emotions of society (Baym, 2015, New relationships, new selves, 140). This showcases the aspect of desire to be liked that has become embedded into human behavior.
In the “Black Mirror” episode, titled Nosedive, society rates others and this rating is what structures social classes. The desire to be rated highly and to earn a high ranking has led people to present themselves differently, both in person and online. The main character has become obsessed with her ranking that one bad review made her confront the person. However, she realizes that she must remain calm because if she were to go any further in the confrontation, then she could get an even lower review or someone could be watching her and post another bad ranking. This ranking system, though, has led the main character to do whatever she can to get the highest ranking. This is the way that most of this society thinks, the higher the ranking, the better the opportunities and the better the person.
Another impact of electronic media that has altered human behavior is the aspect of loneliness. People have become lonely even though they are more connected than ever before. The clip, “The Innovation of Loneliness” depicts the creation of loneliness. The narrator says that social media is one reason why loneliness has become part of today’ society because people need to devote their time to their followers and improving their profiles to build reputations to be involved in personal promotion. With this, the narrator also says that “we get to edit, which means we get to delete” and this has a major impact on how we can present ourselves through social media platforms. Since human behavior has become driven by attention, the ability to alter what is posted gives the power to the poster to receive the most attention possible. He also says that “we’re sacrificing conversation for mere connection” which creates a paradox in which we “claim to have many friends while actually being lonely,” therefore, people would rather have a greater number of friends than having ones that are true friends, which is why they find themselves being lonely. The aspect of human behavior of being lonely is attributed to the emotional aspect of human behavior. Being lonely is something that has become more common in a world where electronic media is supposed to bring people together.
“Black Mirror” is available through Netflix, follow the link to sign up: https://www.netflix.com
Follow the link below to watch the “The Innovation of Loneliness”:
Here is a quote from “The Innovation of Loneliness,” the photo, which describes the many people who use social media today.
A major concern that has been carried from the past to today is the idea of moral panic. Baym describes moral panic as “anxieties over uncontrollable social forces become the focus of efforts to understand a new cultural trend” (Baym, 2015, Making new media make sense, 49). In the eighteen hundreds, with the invention of the telegraph, people were worried about how this would impact relationships in business. Before the telegraph, the only way to do business was travelling and going face-to-face with a client. As presented in Carey’s “Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph”, the aftermath of the telegraph and railroads has created a “new form of organization of essentially impersonal relations” (Carey, 2009, Technology and Ideology, 4). This invention of the telegraph influenced the way that business was handled and therefore, the worry that business would be completely altered and perhaps in a negative way. Later, it was the fear that the telegraph would be a negative invention for women. As one woman accepted a marriage proposal over the telegraph and turning down the man that was waiting for her in the bar (Marvin, 1988, Community and Class Order, 73). This changed human behavior because the hand of a woman became a race to whoever was able to ask her first instead of the process of being in person and asking for marriage. This also impacted the confidence of men. The man on the telegraph did not have to worry about looking the woman in the eye, whereas the man who was asking in person would have to work up the courage to ask the woman, and in the case Marvin presented, the man who took longer to work up the courage missed his chance to the man with the telegraph. The idea of relationships over the telegraph also worried the fathers of the women. Marvin says “traditional courtship protected traditional young women from inappropriate advances by placing insurmountable obstacles in the path of all but the most devoted swains” (Marvin, 1988, Community and class order, 71). Therefore, the idea of having relationships over the telegraph was a fear of these fathers and therefore, the moral panic surrounding the telegraph had to do with women and the new capabilities that the telegraph offered in shaping human behavior and the desire for relationships.
An aspect of moral panic that arose in the 1950s had to do with the television. Similarly, to the telegraph, people feared this new invention, mostly because they did not understand it, but knew it had capabilities never seen before. The New York Times wrote on the ways that people were affected by the television sets. One man, “shot his television set…because it was murdering his sleep,” which demonstrates how people in the 1950s were worried about the television and the impact the television had in their everyday life (New York Times, 1952, Obviously Self-Defense, 31). Human behavior was influenced by the introduction of the television. People became suspicious of their televisions and feared the capabilities which turned people to be irate and violent.
The original New York Times article is posted below:
As far as the ability to express ourselves, people can present themselves as however they want to. However, this also raises the question of authenticity. Baym says that “we might appear more attractive to others in online messages because sparse cues give us more control over our messages” which allows people to take the time to present themselves how they want others to see them (Baym, 2015, Digital media in everyday relationships, 146). People can use filters to change their photos, they can take the time to respond to texts and emails, thanks to asynchronous communication, and some people are more confident online than in person. However, the way that people are given the opportunity to present themselves online can be manipulated by private corporations. Private corporations who collect money from collected and stored data or users would most likely endorse these applications or changes to human behavior. Dating services, such as EHarmony and Match.com, only operate when people in society want to find someone to date. These websites receive payments in return for a person to be on the site and receive matches. However, as far as the people on the sites go, the websites encourage everyone to join the site but doesn’t necessarily tell them how to act on the site. Therefore, the risk that a person takes by going onto these sites and paying for their services is the risk of someone being inauthentic. The sites may not endorse a person being inauthentic, but so long as they get paid, they will allow someone to be on the site. Although the sites are not directly telling people to lie online, they allow it to happen by giving someone the place to lie to others. Therefore, the websites give people the space to present themselves however they want, its up to the person to decide which photos they want to share with others, what information they tell them, and how they interact with them. The dating sites are only one place people can present themselves online, there are others sites and social media platforms that allow people to decide how they want to be perceived.
An aspect of communication though online platforms is the idea of being authentic. This is something that is a fear in people and can cause moral panic over certain websites, especially when they are first introduced. This brings up the question on if relationships are capable of being formed online. In week thirteen, the discussion question asked the members in group seven to make an argument in favor of or not in favor of making relationships online. Shelby Nelson says, “You can meet awful people online just like you can in real life through face-to-face interaction” which gives the impression that Shelby finds the internet to be just as safe as in person and both have limitations (Nelson, 2017, Online vs In Person, 1). This is an interesting point because when there was the option to create relationships online, as noted though dating sites in the next paragraph, people were wary of the services and the authenticity of people they meet online. However, it is important to note that in the past, there was something similar, but without the usage of an online website or chat room, called “blind dates”. These were dates that mutual friends would often set up for friends to get to know one another and meet new people who could perhaps turn into relationships. These could have become dangerous, as the person did not know the other, similar to how two people meet online and don’t know each other and then meet in person.
http://www.eharmony.com/ To learn more about EHarmony and the steps to finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with and to sign up for the service, follow the link to the website.
http://www.match.com/cpx/en-us/match/IndexPage/ to sign up for Match.com services, follow the link to the website.
Today, everything is impacted by the mobile phone. The phone is our link to friends, families, and corporations. Not only do we not need to memorize phone numbers anymore, which in the case of an emergency can be dangerous, we also are able to contact anyone in the blink of an eye. This rapidness has changed human behavior in the way that people are no longer patient. Gone are the days when you had to wait for someone to get off the line to use the phone or waiting for someone to return home so they could answer their landline and in comes the new wave of connection. The idea that people have their mobile phones on their person always means that they can be reached and should respond quickly. When a person is not quick enough, patience gets tested.
Since there is an endless supply of options for communicating across the internet, or across social media platforms, this has led to a decrease in length of time people are able to concentrate, leading to short attention spans. One clip, entitled, “I Dare You to Watch This Entire Video,” presented by CollegeHumor challenges viewers to sit through the 3:05 minute clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edx9D2yaOGs). This can be challenging to some because of the desire to multitask, people often will listen to music, have a television show going on in the background, check and respond to text messages, and try to complete a homework assignment at the same time. The dare in the CollegeHumor clip encourages people to not open another tab, to not respond or look at their phone, but instead, to keep focused on the man talking in the clip. The man lists the effects that this can cause for people watching, such as “becoming bored…begging for a morsel of distraction from the internet,” which is the aspect of multitasking that has become part of society. He also tells viewers that they are scared because it has “been so long since you’ve tried to focus like this that you don’t know if you can do it anymore”. This aspect of human behavior, attention span has decreased dramatically since the past. In the past, people would have to sit down to pen a letter to a friend, which would take time to draft the letter. Then, it’s possible the ink would have to dry before folding it up and then there is the aspect of walking to the post office for them to deliver it. This is something that would take a lot of time and patience to sit down with only a pen and paper. Today, this video points out something that is becoming popular, the idea of being able to text someone, watch a show, and do homework at the same time.
So now, I dare you, follow this link to watch the CollegeHumor clip, I promise you will be better for it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edx9D2yaOGs).