Saturday, September 21, 2013

21st Century Cavemen

The Infolythic Era

Interactive capability, ease, and sociability are only a few elements that make the social networking sites cultural magnets for group behavior.

They may not be the most ‘talked about’ among us or in the news, unless on those occasions when their stock value crosses every sane limit, or one of their CEOs purchase another giant company. Social networking sites invaded twenty first century culture quietly, but with a persistent stamp. Indelible is their influence upon us, and in their silent presence in our daily affairs, we often realize the intelligibility of their voice.
Image Courtesy: Google

I think the mass affection towards Facebook, Twitter, or blogs is not, just because these media can help one express their ideas into any demographic, without being bodily vulnerable, being present at the physical location, but also due to the fact that these sites offer important levels of self-gratifying intractability. In other words, it is not about talking or befriending with the ‘Other’ that we chase Facebook or Twitter posts, but the satisfaction to see ourselves, admired, considered worth of our unique space, social status, etc.

Complementary to this notion is a recent hike in the number of ‘Share/like exchange’ groups in Facebook and ‘retweet’ groups in Twitter.

It reminds me of how ancient people swarmed around a campfire, in front of a cave, to listen to each other, to tell stories, or just to surrender to the great storyteller. Think about those exclamatory shouts and claps they might give to a truly shaking story. In Facebook and twitter, we find similar behaviors in ‘like’ buttons or ‘retweeted’ posts.
Image Courtesy: Google

Increase in the number of Facebook groups that stand for an explicit exchange of mutual consent, [‘Share/like exchange’] meaning, you like my post, I like yours in return, apparently indicates two cultural transformations. One—we are being excessively wound up towards garnering public consent on individual affairs. Although this behavior might not create any direct physiological impact, psychologically, this may alter the individual’s perspectives about the society and herself. Two—social networking has underscored wild preference for ‘group structure’. The basic principle of social networking sites is to lubricate networking in the cyber world. However, groups based on political bend, preferences, schools, colleges, universities, and in the names of social causes, generate a different levels of social contact.  

When groups are formed with preferences such as ideology, name of your favorite writer, caste or books, etc., one is fixing a certain level of communication among the members of the same group, forming unique phrases, words, and team activities based on the preference of each group. I am reminded of the Stone Age people, forming groups in order to execute a more effective food hunting strategy.
Image Courtesy: Google
Hunting and gathering of food in the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods have given way to the harvesting of public consent, through ‘shares and likes’ and ‘retweets’ in the Infolythic Era. Harmony or disharmony, it is a coterie. That makes all the difference, like one poet once said.       

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