Whenever anything’s too close, it’s difficult to see it objectively. That’s the case with social networks and the place they’ve vertiginously occupied in our daily lives these past few years. Today, a person dedicates on average, two hours and 22 minutes per day, according to recent research, to social networks. Such a compulsion with them starts to show the ravages they wreak on the collective psyche.   

With a Ph.D. in computer science and having authored six books on the digitization of reality, Calvin Newport (1982) has never had an account on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. He believes he lives better without them and that he’s happier and more successful. On this very subject, he recently presented a TED Talk in which he raised some interesting arguments. Newport exposes social networks as simple entertainment products, carefully designed to keep you tied, compulsively, to them.

Among the negative aspects that Newport highlights in his presentation is a fragmentation of concentration, a sense of isolation, frustration, depression, and even alterations in cerebral connectivity which derives from the sheer quantity of micro-stimuli. Beyond the shock that social networks are pure psychic poison, we might prefer to take such a talk as a chance to review and revisit the way we relate to these networks, the emotions provoked by their use, and the moods they induce. The conclusions you reach after such an exercise will likely be of interest.

Newport’s words are an invitation to see from a bit more distance just what it is we’re using every day (and which has inadvertently become a part of our daily lives.) Rethinking our relationships with social networks, we ponder on how they affect not only the economic and labor productivity (on which this talk is focused), but on other aspects of our lives, including the social and the emotional.

Image: Les Grandes baigneuses, Paul Cézanne – Public domain

Whenever anything’s too close, it’s difficult to see it objectively. That’s the case with social networks and the place they’ve vertiginously occupied in our daily lives these past few years. Today, a person dedicates on average, two hours and 22 minutes per day, according to recent research, to social networks. Such a compulsion with them starts to show the ravages they wreak on the collective psyche.   

With a Ph.D. in computer science and having authored six books on the digitization of reality, Calvin Newport (1982) has never had an account on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. He believes he lives better without them and that he’s happier and more successful. On this very subject, he recently presented a TED Talk in which he raised some interesting arguments. Newport exposes social networks as simple entertainment products, carefully designed to keep you tied, compulsively, to them.

Among the negative aspects that Newport highlights in his presentation is a fragmentation of concentration, a sense of isolation, frustration, depression, and even alterations in cerebral connectivity which derives from the sheer quantity of micro-stimuli. Beyond the shock that social networks are pure psychic poison, we might prefer to take such a talk as a chance to review and revisit the way we relate to these networks, the emotions provoked by their use, and the moods they induce. The conclusions you reach after such an exercise will likely be of interest.

Newport’s words are an invitation to see from a bit more distance just what it is we’re using every day (and which has inadvertently become a part of our daily lives.) Rethinking our relationships with social networks, we ponder on how they affect not only the economic and labor productivity (on which this talk is focused), but on other aspects of our lives, including the social and the emotional.

Image: Les Grandes baigneuses, Paul Cézanne – Public domain