The New Inquiry — Shyness, Social Media, and the Allure of Control

by Eric Daryl Meyer

The shy person’s fear of social failure once seemed disproportionate to what was actually at stake ; it seemed a strictly personal matter with few economic ramifications. But now they shy person’s apprehension of social risk seems entirely rational, as who you know and what they are willing to do for you may be the key to one’s economic survival. Social capital has never been so important, seeming to dwarf the significance of the unexploitable aspects of friendship. This is a reason more and more social interaction registers as inconvenience. Social media allows us to feel we can draw on a huge wealth of information while participating in social life at our own convenience, controlling it to our advantage as a way of managing risk without having to make any compromises or sacrifices to partake in a community, which recedes as a utopian ideal.

via Rob Horning Comfortably Alone – The New Inquiry.

I have been enjoying—and therefore recommend—the mode of questioning and thinking going on over at the New Inquiry. This piece in particular resonated with me, inasmuch as it plausibly links anti-social impulses with immersion in social media. We all know that face-to-face interactions are vitally important to our sanity, well-being, and happiness—yet they are so much less “manageable” than interactions that are mediated through one social media platform or another. The article above does an excellent job of diagnosing the allure of that sense of control.

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