Group 3’s post and this week’s readings/discussion have been focused on how, or even if, digital society has effected the person-to-person society or the “real” world. Boesel delves into the idea of the “quantified self” and how its popularity has exploded over the past decade whether it be for the health-minded academics of the future or the “fiendish, delusional narcissists,” while Mejias takes the structure of a modern network and applies it to a society integrated by social media. While both seem to believe that the digital society has taken root in the real world and that this is a positive thing, these are still up for debate. Most importantly, it is neither good nor bad. Our digital society definitely affects the ability and kind of networking, development of ideas, and day to day communication between physical bodies but can never replace the connection of 1-on-1 interaction.
One of the most interesting aspects of social media platforms like Facebook is the creation of not just a supplementary connection for those people we see from day to day, but an alternate connection for those who we never plan to meet. We find ourselves creating a digital connection that is either redundant in that it is trumped by constant human interaction or potential in that the satisfaction of being validated by the creation of a new connection comes before the necessary work.
But nonetheless, digital society allows like-minded people to gather and trade ideas on the free market from the comfort on their own screens. While this may sound wonderful, and in practice it allows for the abundance of support and advice where it is needed and unfortunately unavailable, it leads to the false pretense that all ideas can be expressed without ramification in day to day life from person to person.
Finally, due to this newfound ability to express without ramification, many attempt to bring the impulsive, reactionary tendencies of the digital society and are met with much resistance due to the ever-present fears of judgement, criticism, and embarrassment of the person-to-person interaction.
With all mind, it’s easy to see that physical interaction will always be the mainstream of interpersonal communication whether it be out of desire, efficiency, or simple necessity. In the same way the computer was to eliminate the printed page or the escalator to the simple staircase (look how far we’ve come), the digital world will never be able to surpass the the physical though we have tried in emojis, expressive acronyms, and gifs. Even the “friend,” the “follow,” and the “like” fail to match the real-life counterparts as we continue to specify the site that they derive from.