Social Media, A disease we build immunity to?

I have always been pretty cynical. And I would say historically pretty sarcastic as well. I would also say that I am not unique, Sarcasm + Cynicism was really par for a Gen X upbringing. Chandler Bing on friends looked and sounded like how I and my friends interacted.

In the last 10-20 years, I have come to see that as a limitation in a lot of ways that prevent bigger things getting done– It is hard to inspire people to follow a grand vision with biting sarcasm as your primary tool.

But, the one plus of that background is, my generation may be more media and marketing resistant than prior generations.

I also had the added benefit of being introduced to the Neil Postman book, Amusing Ourselves to Death while I was in college. It is a fierce critique of Television and Cable that dominated the media back then

The faculties requisite for rational inquiry are simply weakened by televised viewing. Accordingly, reading, a prime example cited by Postman, exacts intense intellectual involvement, at once interactive and dialectical; whereas television only requires passive involvement

I was so inspired by those arguments, that when I got my first house I did not even plug in my TV for the first 6 months. We cut the cable cord almost 10 years ago. To this day there are no TVs in any bedrooms in our house. We are on a very intentional media diet.

Later in the Early 2000’s  I started reading and watching documentaries by Douglas Rushkoff. He is one of my favorite thinkers. Check out the list below 

He does a great job documenting the impacts of media and technology on society with some really compelling storytelling.

The first video I saw of his The Merchants of Cool still stands up years later. That video focuses on the targeting of teens and pre-teens by marketers, and the exhaustive research they use to try to influence them.

Again, like Postman, that video really impacted the way I critically process any marketing messages I get. I have presented that core message over the years to hundreds of teenagers and parents as well.

So with that upbringing and those influences, I do think I have a pretty unique point of view on media and technology.

Today I read this interesting article by Cory Doctorow, where he thinks through Social media and viral content as a disease which we build immunity to.

Remember Farmville? One day there was no Farmville, and then there was, and all your friends wanted you to water their cows and fertilize their chickens. Your kids – your spouse! – threw money at the game, trapped in a (seemingly) escape-proof limbic dopamine loop.

And then, poof, no more Farmville. I mean, it exists, and there’s a die-hard audience for it, but it is no longer a social phenomenon, no more than Beanie Babies or Pokemon Go is. Zynga’s share-price fell off a cliff in 2012 and it never came back. It’s not coming back.

It is a really good point, and the article is a fun read. So head over there and check it out, it is a great article.

via Cory Doctorow: Persuasion, Adaptation, and the Arms Race for Your Attention – Locus Online


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