Your Brain on Facebook

Facebook is blowing up about a video on Facebook.  What does it do to your brain?  It might surprise you… or it might not.

Some “facts” thrown out at you in the video explained in real life:

Courtesy of Reddit User Se7en_Sinner

People are incapable of intimately knowing more than 150 people.”

I don’t argue this fact, I argue that I can intimately know up to that amount.  It depends on my definition of intimacy, I guess.  My definition of intimacy involves letting someone hear my righteous burping or see me without make-up.

Basically for me, the deeper the intimacy, the more natural, bodily functions I’ll allow a person to see.

I’ll be honest, my intimate circle is small because I don’t want other people seeing or hearing things that can’t be unseen or unheard.

“Girls Don’t Poop” PooPourri Commercial

My friend count on Facebook isn’t just a number that makes me feel good because it’s high and that means I’m “like omg so popular.”  My number of friends says that I met all these people at least once.

Maybe I slept over their house in middle school because we were best friends and we did that every weekend.  Maybe I shared a class with them and we rolled our eyes every time that one kid pulled out his e-cigarette.  Maybe they told me a joke at a party and I nearly fell off the couch and peed my pants a little.

Life is too short to keep track of how I met my “friends,” but I can say I know at least a couple of details about the person without needing to scan their profile to figure out “who they are.”

And my friend count is over 400.

“The western and modern world sanctions individuality.  The individual is measured by … having a career, wealth, a self-image, and consumerism… Many people lose their social and familial connections in favor of a self-actualization ideal.”

Courtesy of HeyImmaTrickster

Is it entirely wrong of me to pursue a career, to generate an income, hold my head high, and buy things I want?  No.

Does that make me self-obsessed?  No.

Would my friends be mad that I’m pursuing my goals that I set for myself?  No, because they wouldn’t be my friends if they did.

So we should blame the online social network because we’re “collecting friends like stamps and not distincting quantity versus quality?”

I’m going to go with my favorite reply and say, “No.”  Strictly speaking for myself, I see quality in every person I meet… maybe with the exception being that douche with the e-cigarette in class.

(I did not add him on Facebook.)

“Converting the deep meaning and intimacy of friendship with exchange in photos and chat conversations.  By doing so we are sacrificing conversation with connection.”

Again, I might be speaking for myself but when I send my friend a cat photo I found on Imgur, I’m not saying, “OOH Cat.  Look at cat.”  I’m saying, “Hey, I like this cat photo and I know you will, too.  Not in a way that it’s obviously a cat and we both like cats.  In a way that this cat symbolizes something deeper, perhaps a longing to be a cat or to merely be in a cat’s presence.  We are both cat people and seeing this cat will make us both happy.  Here, I present to you not only a cat photo but the happiness that can only be achieved when two cat people see a cat photo.”

AGAIN, I repeat that I have a “small, intimate circle” of friends.

Also, depth of my cat obsession:

“Instead of building true friendships, we’re obsessed with endless personal promotion.  Investing hours on end on our profile, pursuing the optimum order of words in our next message, choosing the pictures in which we look our best.”

Honestly, if your social media account is all that is holding your life together: Keep on keeping on.  I won’t judge, just like I hope you don’t judge me for the horrible, awful looking faces I keep making in every photo I take or all of my cat photos.

MasquradeBall
Masquerade Ball circa 2013.

The “fantasies” that this video proposes we use social media for:

1.) We can put our attention where we want it to be.

2.) We will always be heard.

3.) We will never have to be alone.

Which equate to “I share therefore I am.”

A play on Descartes’ “Cognito Ergo Sum” or “I think therefore I am,” however the fantasies are exactly not fantastical.

These ideas are not whimsical or frivolous.

Whether or not social media exists, these are truths we as humans have until the day we die and cease to be.

So, take that Sherry Turkle.

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