In starting to unravel my tangled thoughts regarding social media and cyberpsychology, I have noticed a few contradictions. Cognitive dissonance is the term for it – pairing an opinion with a conflicting set of actions. We justify our actions, knowing they might disagree with our beliefs. I am guilty of just that – cognitive dissonance – and I confess the major offenders as listed below:
- Interconnection: professional platforms, i.e. LinkedIn, have emerged only recently during my employment history. Despite being a close relative to Facebook, I have opted in to a light-touch usage of the site. I can see it has functionality to develop one’s career, and this loose justification appeals. Rather than reluctantly slump into agency offices, to pursue the handful of opportunities on their books, it is now possible to update one’s records from the comfort their own bed/phone/train/beach/wherever. We can window-shop, assess our salaries against averages. International careers are open to peruse and apply for, employees are regaining power – the world is our metaphorical oyster!
- Judge not: As mentioned in previous posts, one constructs their social identity. Realising complex levels of design that some Instagram users undertake per post, ‘kicking the habit’ is becoming a newsworthy story. It’s more than rejecting simulacra (the indistinguishable false), people are realising the energy invested in social media. And yet, there are times that my thumb idly scrolls down a newsfeed. ‘Nothing better to do’ is the excuse I use, but in reality, perhaps I am just scared at appearing unoccupied.
- Love/Hate: Phones. These have become part of the modern way of society. People love their mobile phones so much that they cannot fathom leaving them at home, even having them out of their field of vision. When I was growing up, payphones were the thing we used in emergencies, and to make calls when out and about.
Small change and a phonecard were the means to getting connected, hand-written names and digits the guide. Now, the cards we carry are contactless. Payphones are disappearing. The threat of ‘just in case something happens’ keeps mobiles glued to our sides. Yes, I am guilty of this too, but don’t even get me started on apps….
- Irony: despite being aware that feedback from online platforms, in the form of likes or comments, hooks one in and feeds compulsion, I am yet to disable notifications from this blog, and my personal accounts. Gratification, I have noticed, is granted through the process of writing, and yet feel obliged to disclaim that it is additionally satisfying to know my words have been read by others.