In Foer’s essay, “Mark Zuckerberg’s War on Free Will,” the author discusses the power of algorithms. Drawing upon history, philosophy, and contemporary journalism, Foer considers what social media, and the algorithms and engineers that power it, have on our lives and minds. He notes both positives and negatives here, but notes that these effects may be invisible or unknown to users of social media. From reading Foer’s piece of literature, readers start considering: “In what ways does social media impact the human imagination?” The roles of social media is endless one might say. It has the ability to influence one’s academic, social, community, family, religious, or other parts of one’s life. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages of social media, but could the disadvantages outweigh the advantages?
Technology is improving every second. In the past decade, the accelerating change of technology has been so crucial in changing the ways we communicate and spread information. Mobile devices are starting to take over our lives, as we spent more hours on our phones than anything else.. We can talk to love ones anytime we want, or search what we want instead of going to the library. One might ask:”why is it that social media is so addicting?” There are several answers to that: it helps entertain the users, make them feel like they have a voice, helps strengthen relationships, and spread word about endorsements. There are downsides to this.
Throughout the early years of the United States’ history, politics didn’t excite many of the citizens. The explanation to that is information couldn’t be spread fast enough during the elections. Horses were the fastest means of transport, and it could’ve taken days before word had arrived to another town. Now, social media takes over as the main influencer in political battles across this country. It has dominated over every other media source. People have the abilities to view their candidates’ speeches live, and could get knowledge as soon as the candidates open their mouth. Social media has become such a handy tool, but is it all that good? Yes, people can learn about each and every government official’s background and goals, but what about the lies the media also spreads? Many people don’t understand that candidates use tactics such as bandwagon propagandas to attack their opponents, and in turn, brainwash the public. So many networks and groups online nowadays are biased, so what are the chances of you are believing in false evidence? People are suppose to watch debates on TV, but with social media, many of us are distracted with the videos of rivals taunting each other. Does that really let us humans think freely? As a result of these social media cons, we quickly start to judge before knowing the whole situation. An example of this would be the 2016 election between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Instead of learning about their stances on social and fiscal issues in politics, people followed the bandwagon and become critical. As a result, online users only knew that the campaign was about a liar and a racist.
To many people, social media can be seen as a form of manipulation. Social media doesn’t really allow people to understand the world we live in. Instead of benefiting the society, social media has been known for the ills it poses. The two moral challenges many users face is the lack of privacy and cyberbullying. Before social media, teenagers would do many outdoor activities with families and friends, but with the introduction to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, things rapidly changed. Many teens in the United States feel pressured rather than feeling joyful. They are expected to be perfect like the celebrities shown on their Instagrams, and many teens don’t have the guts to express their free will online without criticism. These cons force teens to grow up prematurely without knowing everything. An experiment was performed at the University of Alberta that showed the impacts bullying had on teenagers. Around twenty-three percent of adolescents have stated experiencing cyberbullying and another fifteen percent admitted to bullying someone on social media. The contents on social media has led teenagers to misuse the platforms by harming others and starting lies. Again, we ask ourselves, “in what ways does social media impact the human imagination?” That answer is quite easy to explain. Social media subjects pressure onto teens and as a result, steers them off the pathway of reality and forces them to not think for themselves.
Mentioned earlier, social media networks create opportunities for hundreds of millions of people all over the globe. The rise of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat allows users to spread their personal information to their family and friends. People can also choose to enable who and who can’t view their profiles. We might feel safe about all the security options given to us to protect our identity, but there are still many loopholes. The loophole is that many social networks are circled around photos. A users have total control over who can see their pictures, but mutual friends play a huge role on media sites like Facebook. When a user’s friend posts on their wall of another friend and invites mutual friends to view the photo, it could endanger the privacy of the first user.
Addiction is also another huge problem that comes out of the utilization of social media. This is one of the most negative effect of the platforms we use, because several hours are spent each day that distracts users from getting their goals done. Not only do peoples’ motivational spirits drop, but many employ the internet as a mean to understand life. Many social media workers have tried quitting, but the algorithms placed in the computers of the 21st century has wired into their search history and recommendations. That’s why users become so addicted; everything is right there in front of them. For instance, teens use social media to gain knowledge and succeed at what they’re doing. At the end, it is more of memorizing what the ‘videos’ taught rather than thinking for oneself about what is right for them. This is just plain brainwashing and manipulation.
Although social media are computer based technologies that enables the users to search ideas, information, and entertainment, there are so many disadvantages to it. As mentioned above, cyberbullying, lack of privacy, and addiction have changed the way we perceive things. Overall, it plays a huge role in our academic, social, community, family, and religious lives. Imagination is “action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses;” however, with the rise in social media, we humans have lost the ability to think for ourselves.