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How the Information Age Affects Humans and Our Social Structures

December 5th, 2023.


Grace McDonald


 


The human brain isn’t equipped to handle the overwhelming amounts of information brought about by the constant rise in internet usage, social media, and online communications. The discussion surrounding the positives and negatives of the Information Age is ongoing in various fields, from anthropology and scientific studies to investigative journalism and everyday conversations.


 


Individual Impact:


Most discussions focus on the direct personal effects, such as the impact of doom scrolling on productivity and mental health or the reduction in jobs due to AI and automation. While these connections are evident, have we thoroughly examined how technology has shaped our social structures or what some call our social glue?


 


Social Connectivity or Isolation:


The internet is often seen as making us more social by providing tools to connect globally. Yet, it also acts as a replacement for genuine human connection, contributing to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, keeping people indoors in their perceived "safe" place.


 


Evolution of Social Structures:


Human brains evolved to maintain social structures, to be part of a tribe or a community where everyone knows each other. The internet, however, has taken us beyond those limits. We are now constantly exposed to diverse cultures, political opinions, and ways of life.


 


Filter Bubble and Ideological Stances:


Algorithms and data collection create a personalized internet experience, forming what is known as the 'Filter Bubble.' While this can broaden our perspectives, it also presents information that aligns with our existing beliefs, potentially fueling anger and further dividing ideological stances.


 


Blurring Social Structures:


The array of people and ideologies online blurs our traditional social structures. Exposure to diverse opinions challenges our established social groups, creating online teams or parties based on ideological stances.


 


Navigating the Information Age:


Adapting to the Information Age requires conscious effort. To navigate the internet more intentionally, seek information actively, participate in groups or clubs, and engage in offline hobbies. By understanding different perspectives, we can individually recognize and mitigate the impact of the internet on our social structures.


The internet's influence is undeniable, but with awareness and conscious efforts, we can navigate the Information Age more effectively.


 


Edited by: Marina Ramzy Mourid


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Tags: #socialmedia #technology #filterbubble #informationage #socialstudies #socialstructures



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