Tag Archives: Jonathan Franzen

How is Social Media Making us “Lazier”?

25 Sep

We have made it a habit to check our phones, Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, almost every second of our day. For some of us, it’s the first thing we do, we wake up and read our newsfeeds every morning as if it where the morning paper. Like Jonathan Franzen said in his essay What is wrong with the modern world, we find ourselves spending most of our waking hours texting and emailing, uploading pictures and updating statuses. What exactly is wrong with this picture? The problem is not only that it has become a bad habit or an addiction; our biggest concern should be that social networks are ruining our human interactions and changing our social norms.

What is it about social networks that captures our attention? The article “What makes Social Networking websites so addictive” by Dianna Bocco, suggest that one of the explanations as to why it can be addicting, is that if you have 10 friends, it’s not a problem keeping up with them, but if you have hundreds of friends, you might find yourself online for hours trying to check all the updates and finishing up conversations.” People are constantly posting things online and we feel like we need to make sure we keep up with everyone else.

We look at our phones while we are waiting for someone, when we are walking somewhere, when we are in the car, and even at the dinner table! Is it all of a sudden ok to pull out our phones while in the middle of a lunch date or a casual conversation? In his article How has Social Media Changed Social Norms? Chris Pirillo states:

“Gone are the days of hiding your phone under your napkin at dinner. Done away with are the stigmas attached to so many of the behaviors taught to us growing up as being acceptable. Of course we’re still going to say please and thank you…however, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to check into foursquare during dinner – and take pictures of whatever is on your plate for Foodspotting.”

He also states that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have not only changed the way we connect to others, they have also given us a new outlook as to what should be socially acceptable.

Along with changing our view on social norms, the use of social networks is changing the way we communicate with each other. Though it might be interesting to look at why we are so quick to check our phones so often, the most important points, which Franzen was trying to get across in his article, is not how addictive it is, but how the smarter technology gets, the lazier humans get. What does this have to do with social media? A long side technology, social networks themselves makes us “lazier”. We often find ourselves trying to fit our thoughts into a certain amount of characters so we shorten the way we spell things and sometimes forget how to spell the whole word. We’d rather catch up with our friends by going through their profiles and pictures as oppose to actually spending time with them.

The article “Social Networking Makes You Stupid” written by Bill Keller, explains why social networks, twitter in particular, is making us “stupid”.

“social networking is more or less killing genuine personal relationships and conversation.. And that Twitter conversations are—by being fragmented into 140 character segments—are killing the ability of people to hold meaningful and deep conversations.  He worries that the extensive and pervasive use of social networking is causing humanity to lose vital mental skills that we once had” The more we rely on social networks, the lazier we get.

Dave Higgins, Social Networking Makes You Stupid. Web. 9/19/13.


Diana Bocco. What makes social networking so addictive?. Web. 9/19.2013


Jonathan Franzen. essay What is wrong with the modern world.Web. 9/19/13.

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