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Andrew Ingledue

ENG 1201

Professor Adrian Cassel

1/15/2019

Social Media and the Deterioration of Self-Control

Perhaps it was because of my natural introversion growing up, but I’ve always watched social

media from a distance rather than participate. To this day, it is nothing short of an unsolvable riddle to

me as to why people knowingly spout their emotions on a universal platform. I certainly don’t mean to

give the impression that I’m any sort of Luddite; I’m actually in full favor of advancing technology.

The issue here is that there isn’t much advancing as there is stagnation or even regression that social

media has brought us in terms of social behaviors. From my perspective, it was like watching a burning

building that people were all too willing to walk into.

I grew up on a somewhat different internet. It was by no means a paradise; in fact it wouldn’t be an

inaccurate analogy to compare the internet of the early 2000s to that of a wild west-like wasteland.

Anonymity was the lifeblood of the internet; instead of John Doe displaying his name for everybody on

his favorite car forum to see, he was simply “speeddemon4000” (or something of the like) to a

community that had the same interest and mannerisms as himself. Our personas (a Jungian term I

intend to apply to my final paper) were completely bare and any anxiety about how we could express

the dialogue in our head was reduced to a minimum. It wasn’t the most organized internet, but it still

presented a unique way to communicate. A way to “talk without a face”, if you will.
I feel this topic is one that everybody seems observe on a daily basis, yet few can point it out and

identify it. Social media is so ingrained into our culture, and by extension, our world, that it can feel

that society can borderline regard it as simply a process of nature. In truth, it is a very controlled

process controlled by specific corporate entities. Facebook is seen as more of a public park then a

corporate entity whose wide variety of seldom-mentioned terms you agree to when you sign up.

I’m not particularly literate in information technology, but I think that aspect of the paper will be

minimal. If anything, the paper is an exploration into “why?” instead of “how”. To clarify, I have no

intention nor interest in uncovering some dark conspiracy. I am much more interested as to why exactly

your average social media user would relinquish such sacred things like liberty and privacy in return

for the social acceptance of what mostly consists of complete strangers. There are several threads to

unwind and I look for this to be a rather lengthy, if slightly esoteric, exploration.