Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Socially conditioned not to complain?

Image: source
So, I've been playing around with the Beta version of Google+ for a few days now, and I like it for the most part.  I like that, like Twitter, you can follow people without them having to follow you back. I like that I can group all my Friends into Circles of "Close friends", "Acquaintences", "Bloggers", "School mums" and so on. I love that I can enter my interests on Sparks and have a bunch of interesting articles and blog posts listed for me to browse and share with my various Circles, and I love that in the future - when I have a webcam (that isn't shoved into a box because I can't figure out how to use it properly) - I will also be able to the Hangout with friends online via video conferencing - especially any family who might be up for that!

This will all be a boon to students for getting work done or discussing tutorial topics and so on in the near future because they'll be able to add their entire class in a Circle then Hangout together to discuss stuff without having to pay for coffee!!! Being an external student is set to be a lot less isolating!

Oh and virtual writing groups! No more will a writer need to be close to other writers to have a writer's group and reading out and get feedback on their writing!!! The possibilities!

BUT

image: source
Yes, I'm going to be paranoid about something...

Google+ also doesn't have a button for not liking stuff.

On Facebook you can "like" people's status updates and shared items (photos, videos and other links). On Google+ you "+1" things you like.

Facebook doesn't have a "dislike" button despite millions of users requesting one, and Google+ has not offered a "-1" button either.

At first glance you might think, "Well, "dislike"ing or "-1"ing might be used to bully people"... Yes, in the wrong hand any tool might be used to bully people.

Image: source
The thing is, often, status updates, videos and so on are about people sharing the shitty parts of life as well, and to "like" something like that doesn't work. This got me thinking...

What if not having a "dislike" button or a "-1" is actually about the old adage "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all". We all heard it as children, and for the most part it was meant to teach us to be uplifting, positive and friendly, HOWEVER, it also teaches us not to speak up when we're unhappy about something...

Is social media conditioning people to ignore that which makes them feel bad? Are we being conditioned to be silent about inequity, atrocities, and discrimination? If we can't "dislike" or "-1" things that offend us or upset us, are we being conditioned not to consider those things anymore because we're meant to be positive and fun all the time?

Image: source
Most of my friends won't be silenced on issues that affront them, so I'm not sure this form of social conditioning is penetrating - yet, but the internet is still young and Facebook and Google+ (and doubtlessly there will be others) are just getting off the ground in real terms - so maybe it will make a bigger impact on the next generation, many of whom (in our society, that is) were using a mouse long before they ever discovered crayons...

I think it is important we remain conscious of our right to dissent. The world is definitely not all icecream and lollipops and while it is nice to escape to a place where everyone is your "friend" (and if they're not you can just "unfriend" them with the click of a button), social media is a great place to share ideas and to do so properly we have be able to not only agree with those ideas but also disagree with them.

3 comments:

Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

thanks for your great perspective on google +.

is will this send me over the edge, or is it something necessary?

Sif said...

It's certainly not necessary yet - a lot of people are very comfortable with Facebook and won't want to change social media or use both at the same time (they're similar enough that there would be a lot of redundancy using both).

I suspect Facebook won't tarry in adding elements similar to what Google+ is offering.

Also, a lot of smartphone apps have built upload features for Facebook and Twitter, so Google+ must make itself relevant enough for program writers to write for it as well.

So, I think you'll have plenty of time to see if your friends start taking up Google+ and dropping out of Facebook. For now, I'm keeping my options open.

Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

Thanks luv! I appreciate your time and thoughts very much!

Teenagers and the failing parent...