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Author Topic: "The E-Personality"  (Read 3013 times)

ShadowBrain

  • Ridiculously relevant
« on: April 03, 2011, 02:13:36 PM »
I recently finished Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality by Elias Aboujaoude, MD, and it got me thinking like no other book in recent memory. This is particularly because many of the issues discussed within it were ones I'd been pondering for some time, well before it caught my eye at the school library. The book's argument is this: Though the internet is a force for good and a tremendous boon to the world in many ways, if we don't exercise moderation, it also runs the risk of turning us into childish, impulsive, inattentive, socially inept narcissists with zero privacy (worst-case scenario, of course). Simply put, the sheer number of things available to do online, as well as the speed and illusion of detached anonymity with which one can accomplish them, has serious implications for both human psychology and human civilization.

So what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you ever, say, buy over the internet things you never would in a brick-and-mortar store because of the disconnect with "real" money? Do you lose any empathy for tragic events in the news when you're hearing constant updates about it from five different sites alongside the day's hottest viral video clip? Do you think there are any dramatic effects dealt by a message board such as this, where fully formed identities take a backseat to what we can garner from a username and signature? What about the polar opposite, Facebook, where everything short of "What number am I thinking of right now?" can be answered in a matter of clicks, given the right privacy settings? I'll save my no doubt tl;dr-worthy thoughts on the matter for a while (including thoughts on the use of such phrases as tl;dr), and instead turn it directly over to you.
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 02:17:35 PM »
I'd say the risks are indeed very real if we don't exercise moderation.  But then the simple solution would be to just exercise moderation.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

Luigison

  • Old Person™
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 02:41:41 PM »
I think that privacy as a right will soon (cosmologically speaking) go the way of the dodo.  I've actually been mulling over writing a book based on the extinction of privacy.  I'm not talking about the 1984 method for it's demise, but a more Huxleyan (or is it Huxlian?) development in which we freely and openly give up privacy because it benefits us. 
“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 03:08:35 PM »
Do you ever, say, buy over the internet things you never would in a brick-and-mortar store because of the disconnect with "real" money?
I was actually just noticing that the other day. When I'm on Amazon, $10 is nothing, because it's coming out of my bank account (which still has a nice little cushion left over) rather than my wallet (which has a ten, some ones, a two, and maybe a five). Of course, I'm usually using my debit card in brick-and-mortar stores anyway, but still, it's different somehow.

It helps that the internet has better stuff than most stores.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 03:48:06 PM »
Anything in excess is bad

The Internet counts as anything

The Internet in excess is bad

I think it's pretty basic and nothing new. How much is excessive depends on what you're using it for, of course.
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 05:07:42 PM »
Slippery slope argument. I mean it's not like there's no middle ground. Of course the internet in excess is bad, just like a great many things.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

ShadowBrain

  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 10:25:11 PM »
I think the issue here, though, is that the internet is becoming such an integrated part of human life that it's going to take a lot more than a collective "all things in moderation" to dismiss its effects.
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

BP

  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 11:12:54 PM »
True, but then, so heavily have cars, radios, manufactured goods, fast food, television. They have all radically changed the world, how we think and what we do. Is it better, worse, or just different? In several years, when they finally decide to just have nigh-worldwide Wi-Fi free for everyone to use, will it be better, worse, or just different?

I think now that Internet is becoming portable, the worst of it will be averted. And by that I mean, it won't make everyone into shut-ins who fear the light of day and never use their voices. Yes, you can look at Facebook anywhere and anytime you want, but it takes the back seat to whatever you're doing.

Not that I can say from personal experience. I still don't have an Internet-enabled phone.
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 11:45:37 PM »
Yes, you can look at Facebook anywhere and anytime you want, but it takes the back seat to whatever you're doing.

Not necessarily. I've seen people at parties who just whip out their iPhones and go on Facebook instead of socialising. They're thankfully a minority for the most part, but it's an alarming minority nonetheless. Never thought I could see the day you could be socially antisocial. :P
If my son could decimate Lego cities with his genitals, I'd be [darn] proud.

ShadowBrain

  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 09:09:19 AM »
I think the fact that I've never sent a text message or used Twitter is "helping" me a lot.
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 09:18:12 AM »
I've only sent texts to my parents, and I've never used the Twitter account we were forced to make for a class assignment. Not being on Facebook is my claim to fame.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 12:25:22 PM »
I thought most FF posters were teenagers, but this thread has shown me we have a lot more 60-year-old grandmas than I thought!

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