Mission Impossible?: Fitting the Techno-Social Landscape of Our Lives into Neat Little Boxes

What do your technology habits mean in the context of your social life? How come some people are smitten with social media, yet able to still focus and have conversations face-to-face, while others feel anxious if they aren’t constantly on their devices?  

Psyche's Circuitry

What can science really tell us about the complex roles of social media, technology, and computer-mediated communication in our social lives? It’s a question I’ve been increasingly asking myself.  As a scientist, my job is to deconstruct very complex phenomena into understandable components, put things in neat, little, over-simplified boxes so that we can actually begin to understand something in systematic, replicable ways. Don’t get me wrong. I love science and think the tools of science are still the best we have available to us. But there are also limitations to these tools.

In particular, I think we haven’t even begun to wrap our heads around how all the technologies we use to augment our social lives work together to create a unique social experience. For example, the social context of texting is very different from that of Facebook which is very different from the social context of blogging, etc,……

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