You are on page 1of 8

Crutchfield 1

Bryan Crutchfield
Adam Padgett
UWRT 1102
April 5, 2015
Technology and Human Interaction

Just as King Midas turned everything he touched into gold, technology


has a similar effect on everything it comes into contact with; whether
for better or worse, anything technology touches transforms into
something new. Goods and services can be distributed more efficiently
than ever before because of the Internet. Thanks to advancements in
medical technology, humans are able to live longer and healthier lives.
But technology also affects humans on a more personal level. Social
networking and online dating services are causing people to put their
thoughts, emotions, and aspirations online for others to see. All of the
necessary people skills required for a face-to-face conversation are
tossed aside thanks to smartphones and online chat rooms. The way
humans communicate with one another is changing, and will continue
to change in the future.
The integration of smartphones into our everyday lives is
changing the way we conduct ourselves in public. In larger cities,
pedestrians walk past one another without even a glance. The

Crutchfield 2
smartphone keeps people occupied with their personal lives, even
while on the go. Tali Hatuka, who heads the Laboratory for
Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University, studies these
behavioral changes in humans. She discovered that smartphone users
are detached from their physical surroundings and feel a sense of
privacy that often isnt there. This is bad news because public areas
are very important in modern communities. They allow people to
notice differences between themselves and strangers, and learn how
to interact with one another. Smartphones are robbing people of
important opportunities to interact in public. When stepping into a
public elevator, people can easily avoid conversation with a stranger
by simply turning to his or her smartphone.
According to The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies, social
media changes at the same rate that people do; Peoples practices,
expectations, and social norms have evolved alongside the technical
features and social interaction opportunities. In 2011, 65 percent of
Internet-using adults reported using social networking sites for both
casual and professional purposes. That number has increased since
then, opening the door for new applications and social networking
sites. Cameras have become an important part of smartphone
technology, and as a result picture and video sharing applications have
become popular. In 2013, the results of a survey showed that 18% of
cell phone users were using Instagram and 9% of users were using

Crutchfield 3
Snapchat. Social media sites like these are centered on selfpresentation. The generation of teenagers in the current age of
technology is being taught to obsess over their own lives. Taking a
selfie is an interesting concept; a photograph taken by you, of you,
with nobody else included in the picture. Its these moments that put a
narcissistic spin on the seemingly innocent nature of social media
sites. Social media is solely based on gaining attention from others,
which begs the question: Does overusing social media cause
narcissistic tendencies? A 2014 study bridges the gap between
narcissism and social media sites.
Narcissism is a dynamic system of self-regulatory processes,
whereby individuals with grandiose, yet vulnerable self-concepts
engage in frequent attempts to solicit attention and affirmation
from those around them (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001).

Social network sites (SNSs) are one venue where behavior and
interactions can be directly observed. These sites are frequently
described as a haven for narcissists, because they invite users to
post self-focused content (e.g., photographs, status updates) and
supply a large audience of family, friends, and acquaintances to
which this content can be broadcast (Twenge, 2013)
However, during the same study, researchers concluded that friends
and other users arent always fond of narcissistic behavior on social

Crutchfield 4
media sites. The most ideal social media user would be able to balance
positive self-presentation and acknowledgement of others. Research
suggests that when users choose to engage with one another on
Facebook, they do so in a validating and supportive way (Toma, 2013;
Toma & Hancock, 2013). Avid users of social media sites should spend
more time studying other users profiles, rather than making
adjustments to their own page. The research concluded that nonnarcissistic users would receive more valuable attention to their
Facebook profiles than narcissistic users. More narcissistic users
received a similar amount of likes, but substantially less comments
under their status updates. In the social media world, a like is a
simple (sometimes meaningless) acknowledgment of a photo or status
update. A comment, however, is a more personal way to express an
opinion about a photo or status update.
A study conducted in 2015 concluded that the use of social
media could enhance three specific human traits: extraversion,
neuroticism, and openness to experience (Ross et al., 2009; Zywica &
Danowski, 2008). This explains a lot about the current generation of
teens. Being less reserved and self-expression are becoming more
common. Building an online profile for a social networking website is
based on what makes the user unique. Note the positive correlation
between the number of social media users and people that are willing
to express their own uniqueness. A 2014 study concluded that teens

Crutchfield 5
that are using social media sites experience more of a desire to belong
and are more likely to be part of group activities such as protests, flash
mobs, and organizations (Seo & Houston, 2014).
Theres a social media application for everyone. The most
photogenic users of social media will most likely prefer Instagram.
Those with a need to voice their opinion or follow celebrity activity use
Twitter. Before conducting an experiment, researchers make a note of
the difference between Facebook and Twitter, and how that might
affect the users post.
When considering the psychological determinants of posting
behavior on Twitter and Facebook, it is worth noting that Twitter
differs from Facebook in certain functional ways. It may not be as
good a tool for self-promotion as Facebook, as it limits the length
of tweets to 140 characters and until recently did not allow users
to directly post., allows users greater anonymity than Facebook,
which may privilege the content of ones message over ones
projected identity (Huberman et al., 2009).
It seems that being anonymous is an important part of using social
media. Some applications, like YikYak for example, grant the user
complete anonymity. This opens a dangerous door known as cyber
bullying. The ability to hide behind a computer screen while
threatening someone was never an issue until recent times. The social

Crutchfield 6
identity model of deindividuation (SIDE) states that visual anonymity
can increase the social influence exerted by group norms and
depersonalization (Spears & Postmes, 2002). Cyber bullying has been
the cause of many depressions and in the most extreme cases,
suicides. Its a difficult situation to resolve since it can be very difficult
to avoid being on the Internet. The Internet has given many people
confidence to speak their minds. The comment section under YouTube
videos is full of racist and sexist remarks sometimes directed at the
creator of the video.
Technology is changing the way we treat one another. Social
media is making it mandatory to be included in large groups. Also, we
are more involved with ourselves than we should be. People argue that
they want to be themselves and be unique. How can one be considered
unique if his/her online actions are dictated by the validation of others?
In fact, I would argue that technology is making us less unique as
individuals. Technology has the ability to connect us with people across
the world, but somehow manages to distance us from a man standing
right beside us in a public space.
Works Cited

Crutchfield 7
Badger, Emily. "How Smart Phones Are Turning Our Public Places Into
Private Ones." Citylab.com. N.p., 16 May 2012. Web.
Brooks, Stoney. Computers in Human Behaivor. Department of
Computer Information Systems, Middle Tennessee State University,
2015.
Choi, Mina; Panek, Elliot; Toma, Catalina. When social media isnt
social: Friends responsiveness to narcissists on Facebook. Elsevier,
2015.

Ellison, Nicole B.; Boyd, Danah M. The Oxford Handbook of Internet


Studies Chapter 8: Sociality thought social network sites. 2013

Ong, Eileen Y.L., Ang, Rebecca. Narcissism, extraversion and


adolescents self-presentation on Facebook. Division of Psychology,
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological
University, 2010.

Spears R, Postmes T, Lea M, Wolbert A. When are net effects gross


products? The power of influence and the influence of power in
computer-mediated communication. Journal of Social Issues 2002;
58:91107.

Crutchfield 8