We have every reason to be skeptical of social media

I agree with Levi Bryant’s recent post on the matter of cynicism. We have every reason to be skeptical of social media. There is no doubt that ideolgical and capitalistic motives lie behind the arguments for social media. Hell, in most cases, such motives are front and center. Should we be skeptical of Instagram or Facebook or Coursera? I think so. But should we be skeptical about the premise of networked sociality in itself? Or should we be looking to adapt/invent practices for this environment? Levi writes that as a result of cynicism “We thus strangely find ourselves in the same camp as the climate change denialists, the creationists who use their skepticism as a tool to dismiss evolutionary theory, and those that would treat economic theories as mere theories in the pejorative sense and continue to hold to their neoliberal economics despite the existence of any evidence supporting its claims.  We critique everything and yet leave everything intact.” It’s a bold argument perhaps, as it equates what we imagine as the height of intellectual behavior (critique) as functionally equivalent to some of the more blantant examples of what we would term anti-intellectualism. However, I think the same thing could be said for our treatment of social media.

Alex Reid via http://www.alex-reid.net/2012/12/academic-cynicism-social-media-and-the-fate-of-the-humanities.html

One Response to “We have every reason to be skeptical of social media”

  1. Questioning everything (which is basically what skepticism is) is a healthy and productive way to learn, as long as you keep your biases in check. Assuming everything you don’t like is wrong until proven otherwise while accepting everything you do like regardless of evidence is not skepticism as much as it is isolationism. We have too many intellectual isolationists in this country, too many of them on state and local school boards.

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