See the world through my eyes
Facebook, Loneliness, Empathy, and more…
In another addition to what’s sure to be an growing and controversial conversation, this month’s Atlantic cover piece explores research connecting Facebook use and levels of loneliness and narcissism.
Meanwhile, Eric Klinenberg at Slate posted his refutation here.
There’s certainly no conclusive evidence one way or the other, but the Atlantic article raises some interesting questions and it’s eloquently written.
A couple of good passages:
“A considerable part of Facebook’s appeal stems from its miraculous fusion of distance with intimacy, or the illusion of distance with the illusion of intimacy. Our online communities become engines of self-image, and self-image becomes the engine of community. The real danger with Facebook is not that it allows us to isolate ourselves, but that by mixing our appetite for isolation with our vanity, it threatens to alter the very nature of solitude. The new isolation is not of the kind that Americans once idealized, the lonesomeness of the proudly nonconformist, independent-minded, solitary stoic, or that of the astronaut who blasts into new worlds. Facebook’s isolation is a grind. What’s truly staggering about Facebook usage is not its volume—750 million photographs uploaded over a single weekend—but the constancy of the performance it demands. More than half its users—and one of every 13 people on Earth is a Facebook user—log on every day. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, nearly half check Facebook minutes after waking up, and 28 percent do so before getting out of bed. The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee.”
“Facebook, of course, puts the pursuit of happiness front and center in our digital life. Its capacity to redefine our very concepts of identity and personal fulfillment is much more worrisome than the data-mining and privacy practices that have aroused anxieties about the company. Two of the most compelling critics of Facebook—neither of them a Luddite—concentrate on exactly this point. Jaron Lanier, the author of You Are Not a Gadget, was one of the inventors of virtual-reality technology. His view of where social media are taking us reads like dystopian science fiction: “I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.” Lanier argues that Facebook imprisons us in the business of self-presenting, and this, to his mind, is the site’s crucial and fatally unacceptable downside.”
What do you think? Does Internet communication only allow “ersatz intimacy”? Does that matter?
Source: The Atlantic
Iowa paper devotes its front page to fighting bullying.
Respect to Sioux City Journal! Read their Op-ed on why they decided to make bullying a priority, after yet another teenager took his life:
How many times have each of us witnessed an act of bullying and said little or nothing? After all, it wasn’t our responsibility. A teacher or an official of some kind should step in. If our kid wasn’t involved, we figured, it’s none of our business.
Try to imagine explaining that rationale to the mother of Kenneth Weishuhn.
It is the business of all of us. More specifically, it is our responsibility. Our mandate.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge our community has yet to view bullying in quite this way. It’s well past time to do so.
Stand up. Be heard. And don’t back down. Together, we can put a stop to bullying.”
It’s time to #StartEmpathy - Join the movement.
Call for a new hero in school reform
“We elevate the wrong hero in school reform every day: we dramatically overvalue the importance of academic learning, and assume that merely focusing on better curricula and clearer standards will carry the day. Yet the research suggests otherwise, affirming what sociologist Pedro Noguera and others have said repeatedly: “unmet social needs become unmet academic needs.”
Sam Chatlain, a DC based writer and education activist, on integrating new research about how we learn into the US education system, putting social needs alongside the academic needs.
Ashoka and YV partner with the Bully Project
Whew. What a week! With just four days notice, teams at Ashoka and Youth Venture managed to pull together a youth campaign just in time for today’s launch of “Bully” — a documentary film that follows the lives of five families affected by bullying and their determination to make a difference.
In partnership with The Bully Project, the campaign will be a platform that encourages youth to “Stop Bullying and Start Empathy” by submitting ideas for projects in their schools and communities. The YV team will then provide advice and support for youth teams to start their own movements.
It’s a terrific opportunity to channel the energy and publicity around a national problem into awareness about empathy and its importance.
And, the campaign is a nice preview for the upcoming launch of Start Empathy on the web in just over a month. (We’ve already got the Facebook page up and running, so be sure to stop by and “like” us!)
Again, on Monday morning, we had nothing. And by Friday morning, we have this. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re working with such a wonderful and dedicated team!