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Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

Posted November 30, 2010 7:40 AM

Here's a disturbing story: Bill Nye the Science Guy was delivering a speech to a group of college students at the University of Southern California when he unexpectedly collapsed in mid-sentence. After seeing their speaker passed out on the stage, what do you think the audience of students did? They took out their phones and tweeted about it. There have been many recent stories about how the Internet is making us dumb and shallow and impatient, but are we losing our human empathy as well? And, what does this say about how well-prepared students are to go out in the world of people?

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#1

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

11/30/2010 10:21 AM

I remember Tommy Cooper dying on stage, broadcast on tv. It was obvious to me immediately that something was wrong, but many people in the audience laughed thinking it was part of an act. Maybe if they had had twitter in those days the response would have been the same.

Here is an interesting http://truthy.indiana.edu/about site about faking tweets and astroturfing. Twitter is so new people don't know what to do with it. I can't think of an application so I don't tweet.

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#2

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

11/30/2010 10:39 PM

I do not think that this is because of social networking on computers. This reflects the social system and the in-sensitivity of city dwellers. They are too much used to see the deaths on the road and have become insensitive.

Recently there was an accident just opposite to gate of my office. The old man was run over by a vehicle. He was alive. I started helping him. Also I begged for help from others who gathered around for shifting the person to hospital. No spectator dared to come forward to help me. Finally I could shift him to hospital somehow. This shows the apathy, insensitivity, sort of fear of person on death bed and fear of the police system. But nothing to do with social networking.

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:13 AM

Instead of just asking for help to a general group, you select somebody and delegate something for them to do. There are too many people that don't act because they are afraid they don't know what to do but if you give them an objective they respond better.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 12:55 PM

No. We are talking about an instinctual response here. Since no one jumped up to help Bill Nye or to help gsuhas, even when directly asking for help with the gentleman who had been run over, who is going to suddenly "select" an individual to be responsible? Do you see the Catch-22 here? If no one would help when specifically asked, why would any one suddenly take charge of finding someone to help? That is precisely the role gsuhas was playing. Did it bring any help forward?

This could be the subject of a whole discourse in itself. In Plato's, "The Trial and Death of Socrates," there is a section where Crito begs Socrates to escape, lest it look bad on Crito that he did not offer the necessary help to obtain Socrates freedom. (In other words, he is worried about "public opinion.") Following is this section from an online version.

Crito: Yes, the meaning is only too clear. But, O! my beloved Socrates, let me entreat you once more to take my advice and escape. For if you die I shall not only lose a friend who can never be replaced, but there is another evil: people who do not know you and me will believe that I might have saved you if I had been willing to give money, but that I did not care. Now, can there be a worse disgrace than this - that I should be thought to value money more than the life of a friend? For the many will not be persuaded that I wanted you to escape, and that you refused.

Socrates: But why, my dear Crito, should we care about the opinion of the many? Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think of these things truly as they happened.

Crito: But do you see, Socrates, that the opinion of the many must be regarded, as is evident in your own case, because they can do the very greatest evil to anyone who has lost their good opinion.

Socrates: I only wish, Crito, that they could; for then they could also do the greatest good, and that would be well. But the truth is, that they can do neither good nor evil: they cannot make a man wise or make him foolish; and whatever they do is the result of chance. (Underlined emphasis, mine.)

For whatever reason, when individuals collect in groups (masses) and are faced with a situation where individual action is required, almost all the "individuals" become frozen to inaction; waiting for someone else to be the individual that should act. The mentality of each individual seems to be, "Surely, someone here is going to take action?" (It just won't be ME.) If each these same people were alone with Bill Nye when he collapsed, the realization of responsibility would be much clearer. So why is the proper instinct not acted upon in groups, whereas alone it most likely would be? It seems to me it is more a result of "training" the mind to not become diffused in a crowd but to continue to act as if alone. A "natural born leader" does this.

The form of communication in our digital age does contribute to this poor "training" of the mind. But it doesn't have to be this way.

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 2:08 PM

I wasn't talking about the Bill Nye incident. I was discussing an incident involving the poster right above me.

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#15
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 3:17 PM

Other than you disagreeing with me and missing my point.

I do agree with what you said.

I can imagine that room was extra full with students just because it was Bill Nye the Science Guy and for no one to have presents of mind to help just astounds me. It tells me of a group of students that had parents that were more concerned with their grades to get into college in the first place rather than spending some time with them to teach them in dealing with the real world. I don't think internet is really to blame here, it's the way parents are bringing up their kids that is the problem.

I got a good kid. When ever I screw up while driving or something I let him know that I just screwed up and that's why that other person is honking at me. When I see someone else screw up I point it out to my son what they failted to do or how stupid their actions are.

It really doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative, the issue is about being stacked on one another like sardines or living far enough apart from people that you really do appreciate them when you see them.

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#11
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 1:00 PM

you select somebody and delegate something for them to do.

I agree, someone and instruct take the lead

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#19
In reply to #6

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:24 PM

I agree and disagree.

Though they are asked for specific help, still they afraid to help for many reasons

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#9
In reply to #2

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 12:53 PM

This reflects the social system and the in-sensitivity of city dwellers.

look at this site as an example with guests, or ex-members as guests

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#14
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 3:09 PM

But while they are sitting in their new homes they'll protest the cutting down of trees and while they are eating Top Sirloin Steak they're going to protest the slaughtering of cattle.

It's a lot of just don't get involved because you never know if someone is going to come after you. They'll watch a murder out their windows but won't say anything to the police.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 4:54 PM

Thats becuase the police are there to investigate and clean up after you have been killed for "snitching". 80(

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#17
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 4:56 PM

I see the connection.......

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#20
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:27 PM

where is the site?

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#3

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

11/30/2010 11:15 PM

"There have been many recent stories about how the Internet is making us dumb and shallow and impatient, but are we losing our human empathy as well?"

Or could it be that social networking is just making our dumbness, shallowness, impatience and lack of empathy more obvious?

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#4

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 4:14 AM

I guess there are two aspects.

from the one line preview my guess was that people were googling what to do which shows

a) an unfortunate lack of knowledge - I did first aid training in the scouts and whilst I have never had to use it seriously and it was 30 yrs ago I think I would at elast be able to help

b) at least a bit of proactiveness to find some help but its worrying what they might find out there

the second is that the story originates in the US and press coverage here in europe suggests that the last thing you should do is help some one as you may lay yourself open to future law suit if you are not a fully trained and insured in that state health professional.

I also remember the demise of Tommy Cooper and whilst it might have been clearer on tv you have to remember he was particularly famous for having things apparently go wrong to pull off a bigger more amazing trick and the theatre audience who wouldnt have been able to see his distress that clearly (and remember he could pull some amazing faces) could easily have believed it was part of the act.

Anyway if you believe in that sort of thing the parable of the Good Samaritan is 2000 yrs old so this sort of behaviour is not new its just that we here about it more. First the twitters tweet - ohmigod the lecturer collapsed, then later the first aider tweeting ohmigod a lecture hall of student did eff all

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#5

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 8:50 AM

Because this is a college audience, we can assume that most people in the audience are younger, say between 18 and 28. These folks have grown up in a very violent period in this country. If you become aware around the age of ten, then these folks have been acustomed to terrorism, at least three wars, and popular culture stuff like rap music and violent video games and movies. Most modern action films show the murder of several innocent people, typically people who work as guards at a wharehouse, etc.... I find myself being shocked at imagry that my kids feel is routine. I worked at jobs like these and I would be one of the "extras" in the movie that was nonchlantly killed as an unimportant part of the film.

In the past, they learned that during the wars, many people would not fire their weapons. They were able to substantially increase the fire rate by having recruits play murder simulators, or what we call today, video games. The "best" games show graphic depictions of gore and violence. These kids are insensitive to the suffering of others, and frequently inflict pain on themselves vountarily. Examples can be found on TV shows such as "Jackass", and "Nitro Citcus". So the kids not only hurt themselves, but perceive the pain in others as entertainment.

My father taught college level courses about Nazi Germany while I was growing up, and I have seen an increasing similarity in the nature of "art", and the lack of respect for other people. Its very disturbing to me to think that in my old age, the people in charge of my life will have grown up thinking that kicking someone in the testicles is funny. The right charismatic person, at the right time, in the right setting, could motivate the society to see the elimination of an ethnicity as a cure of the ills that will certainly fall on the future citizens. Its my understanding that the main motivations behind WWII Germany were economic, and we are about to experience some serious pain in the US becuase of the stupidity of our recent past generations, who borrowed money when we didnt need it, from people who dont wish us well. Are Amercians ready to experience a huge lowering of the standard of living with out wanting to beat up someone? It wont matter who it is to the charismatic leader that gets elected promising to respond to a fight ..... that we will have secretly started.

Like the housing bubble, and the credit crisis, they will report this and it will be well known, and it will still happen.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:56 AM

GA. I think that many people have spent so much of their lives watching contrived bigger-than-life crap on tv that they have been sucked right into videopolis. In the pre tv past people would select role models from their community, from history, or from fiction. The community role model was a real person, and the historical role model was at least based on a real person. If you picked a fictional role model you still had to draw from you own imagination to fill in the blanks. Now you can select a completely formed bogus personality or character from tv land, including the wardrobe, hairdo and catch phrases. Three generations into the tv age we have a situation where even if you pick a 'community' role model, they themselves may be playing the part of their own favorite tv character I think this is where the shallowness come from - too many of us are playing characters rather than being people. Twitter and Face Book are the media in which your 'character' plays out his or her role. It will take us all some time to adjust to this new 'reality'.

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#22
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/02/2010 3:54 AM

We put ourselves into that situation. Nixon in 1970's wanted to break back of unions once and for all and started outsourcing all of the industrial base of America to China. We looked at them as our peons and they stuck to hard work and have earned their share of world markets- true they have different concepts but we are in a "globalized society as " the Bushes defined it" it does not work. This would require that we lower our wages to equal those of thierd world countries- we have not been told about it but are slowly headed in that direction-thus the clamping doewn on Freedom- we will realize and try to go back- there is no going back. We are now a society of very rich and very poor. A true "electronic banana republic"

We have also exported key technologies such as the meatllurgy of complex turbines made in the past by GE because it was cheaper. We allowed the silent technology of our submarine propellers to be handed to the Russians. We recently discovered that all of the espionage involved was actually to hand them the technology. We have become the people against the People.We are a penny wise pound foolish society. We only look at money. We are unable to look at a person and see any value because we have lost ourselves in a maelstrom of money and superflousness. We have become vain, egotistic, and have forgotten that others know often more than we do. Most people are unable to discern between a well engineered product and a poorly engineered one. Most people are unable to tell if a garment is balanced and well tailored-they buy names or endorsements cant tell a quality fabric or a well stitched garment, go with the crowd. Are unable to wera a home made garment of superior quality because moms garment lacks the buzz of a Polo or some other buzzword.

We are unable to tell a well engineered machine, or the subtle engineering like in a Lexus where the gaps between the doors and the frames are tight and uniform. We fall for glitter and chrome. We are unable for most part to tell or appreciate an old machine for what it is able to do. A few days ago I read in this forum of a "Yankee family"" who rebuilds old water driven electric generating plants in New England. They are hardworking -they know the value of things, they seem to deliver an excellent service and use traditional American values. We have lost that- we want to beat everyone out of their money in a hurry without fulfilling our part of an obligation.

China has risen not because so much of themselves although I speak with China everyday with suppliers- they keep their word they are diligent, they do not BS, and they deliver value. Old Nixon wanted every American to work for Chinese wages and globalization has succeeded not only in dumbing down America, but placed fear in Us so we think everyone is out to get us. In this process of fear we also have beome disrespectful of other peoples work and the decency of they also earning wages. The old buszzword "service economy" as it was rationalized was a lie. Globalization is a lie, supply side economics is a fraud, lower taxes to stimulate our economy is a lie- the investors go to China anyway because they get better value. Supply side economics will work when everyone of us works for 60 cents an hour 16 hours per day. We have managed to reduce evrything to pennies not to value.

We need to start defending Our values-not attacking other values- we have been a Country of leaders- of tolerance, of learning, and of listening. Now it seems we want to rule, dictate, and impose our values without regard to other cultures.

The website of a New England company which I discovered right here in this forum has numerous papers and books posted on it about different designs of vertical water propelled turbines, overshot waterwheels, etc, every paper posted on their site explaining the basic engineering concepts of each one of the hydraulic or water machines as they functioned and they were designed to produce electricity: written by American scholars back in the early nineteen hundreds. You read these papers or books and the explanations are direct, honest, elegant meant to share knowledge- the workout of the math is step by step, didactic, transparent even though at times fairly sophisticated is direct to a point where a well educated High School student should be able to understand that simple elegance of American engineering and honesty which prevailed before we got into the political and social mess we are in. Currently it seems as if we do not anyone to learn from us. We believe that even if all we know is to add two plus two that nobody else knows it and that we should not share or educate. This mentality is one of destruction, divisiveness, and of mistrust. Mostly due to dumbing down of our eductaion, thus our intolerance , thus our racism we are not capable of realizing that other cultures are adaptive and that they optimize the conditions that they are in. We believe that we know everything.

That New England co. I do not know if should mention their name is a great hope in this day and age. The wife actually operates cranes, blasts, drives a truck, etc. I was a bit disappointed that was unable to copy the books on their site (probably out of print)- they are over 75 years old so copyright has expired and would have been great reading. They seem in spite of being the highest quality construction co. I have seen in a long time also missing on the concept of spreading knowledge around.They actually are rebuilding small hydroelectric facilities. I did not read through because got enthralled with a foto log of the work they do-published in their site. They are absolutely creative and resourceful. The "books" or "papers" on Turbines and waterwheels on their website all teach us about green energy we used before we became oil men administering oil that we do not have and that we need to take by force

We have coal and many other resources that we need to learn how to manage-Sassol in South Africa converts coal into gas since the late 1940's. Berlin ran the entire city of 3 million during th War with gases from septic discharges processed in digesters-even then it was not an innovation... Alexandria in Egypt in 1926 started recycling human waste to producce electriciy by producing methane gas. Education and honesty today are key to succes like they were in our past.

Roebling did the Brooklyn bridge a marvel of American engineering after he had a few bridges collapse and persevered- he did not outsource or beat someone down or out of their wages. He found the answers with hard work. His bridge an outstanding piece of American engineering pays tribute to the work ethic that built the good side of US. (no Pun intended).We have incredibly talented people but have become selfish self centerd and want it all, we get upset when someone achieves something which we are unable to achieve instead of praising him or learning from him.

Currently we are inmune to millions of unemployed many are Vets on the street. If we made a small place for at least one of them in our payroll we may be able to get the ball rolling again. There are vets and Americans who are starving, yet are proud, many of our senoirs are on a Campbell soup diet fror years in silence we complain that they get a check-they paid in and deserve it- we ignore our seniors we do not even call our parents, for fear we may have to help them with a utility bill or take them to a medical visit because they are unable to drive and we are too busy or selfish. yet we all use Christianity as our cover. We have to start caring genuinely and giving our time and resources for causes that we may believe have no monetary value.

Years ago I was involved in heavy demolition and had an 80 year old come by everyday after the demolition work to collect the scrap metal., mostly copper, but also some steel. My subcontractor made a huge mistake that put him in bankruptcy and us almost out of business, we had no funds to continue leasing the heavy equipment. The old 80 year old which I spoke with every afternoon- after the crews left- talked with me while I would stay on the site analyzing the work of the day and looking at the blasting for next day. While gathering the scrap and talking he found out we were in a bind. The old man dressed in used frayed army fatigues and drove an old El Camino pickup. You were unable to tell that he was a roadbuilding engineer and contractor who owned raod building graders, heavy eartmoving equipment, track drills etc over 100 million and was unassuming. That afternoon he wrote on a piece of recycled kraft paper an order so we could get next day 14 trucks several buldozers, loaders, trackdrills and other heavy contruction machinery so we would finish the demolition and then we would pay when finished. This is unheard of today thanks to him we finished,succedded and paid him and all of our crew. He probably was concerned about his money he actually picked up a few dollars in scrap not because he was miserable but because he valued work and things with residual value-he was a true human being and an early recycler back in 1961.

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#23
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/02/2010 8:11 AM

a few generalizations there... but forgiveable, as mostly just plain brilliant insight!!! ga

you need to put that type of stuff on the bookstands and magazines, to get the message out.

chris

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#7

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:43 AM

I think we have been programmed by government and religion (another form of government) to follow. We don't know how to lead or take the initiative.

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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 1:01 PM

good view point

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#18
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 10:59 PM

or Think. (I think... )

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#21

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/01/2010 11:48 PM

We discussed many things.

I clearly opined thatthis insensitivity has nothing to do with social networking.

But almost majority has not said anything about this main point (as it appears in the title of the thread).

Yes I agree more blame goes to TV and movies in making us insensitive

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#24

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/02/2010 12:23 PM

It seems to me there are those that are "first responders" and those who aren't comfortable taking a perceived risk. First responders have a courage and an attitude that they can make a difference and are willing to do so. I have witnessed this during stints as a Marine and later a Deputy Sheriff. Many people are afraid of standing out or making a mistake, so they do not act.

I can't say whether the internet is the culprit in the disregard towards others or if its part of early education suppressing leadership and confidence in one's self. Regardless, it seems to be a sad sign of our current society's indifference towards others.

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#26
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Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/04/2010 3:35 PM

I think it would help if students in high school were given training as 'first responders' and make it part of the curriculum. It would help with the leadership issue and also remove any hesitation because 'someone else can do it better'.

There is training available in CPR and first aid, but not enough people are being trained with these skills. Unless your company sponsors training of staff - usually because it's an important skill to have onboard at the job site where there's no actual paramedic - this training is just an extra for most, it's not a 'career path', unless you are actually an ambulance driver, paramedic etc. But society would be better served if the number of people with first aid training was one in ten. The term 'first responder' is almost a misnomer when the qualified people take ten or twenty minutes to arrive, at best, after being called!!

Still I would have expected some students in this story to have got the message that the first response for a non-responder is "dial 911" instead of just tweeting...

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#25

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/02/2010 1:09 PM

I don't think antisocial is the right word because in a lot of ways the social networks are expanding the average person's social circle, people seem to keep in "touch" with more people than they used to. BUT, the networks seem to me to be making people less aware of their immediate surroundings or perhaps I could say the real world. These networks exist in etherspace. I have seen pedestrians so intent on their texting, or networking that they walked straight into a telephone pole, or fell off the sidewalk. So while they have may a larger network of friends they are painfully unaware of what is going on around them. We won't even mention drivers with their Iphone or what have you.

Another point is that communication through Facebook or texting leaves out the personal face to face aspect of communication. There is no tone of voice or body language to interpret. These aspects of communication are a major part of the meaning of any interaction. Without the experience and practice in these areas the ability to "read" people is becoming lost so I fear thay while the quantity of interaction may be increasing the quality is decreasing.

To address the posts about people getting involved in a crisis or emergency I relate it to my above points by saying that the people see it as important to get the news to their circle of friends through tweets of Facebook posts because they are the ONLY people that matter. The person in front of them dieing on the street matters little, unless they would happen to be on their "friends" list. It has always been true that the chance of getting help is inversely related to the size of the crowd witnessing the crisis. People simply think someone else in the crowd will be better qualified to help than they are. If however there is only 1 witness, that person is much more likely to offer aid because they know that there is no other choice.

I agree with the poster who said the best thing to do if you are on the scene? Get involved and start giving orders, people generally want to help and will do so quickly if they are just given a little direction.

So I don't think we are becoming antisocial, but we are becoming less outgoing and less in touch with our surroundings. Dare I say less "real" when it comes to social contact?

__________________
All that is required for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
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Anonymous Poster
#27

Re: Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?

12/10/2010 11:43 AM

Yes it does. My daughter no longer wants to hang out with friends but instead is always n facebook. I encourage everyone to join meetup.com.

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