Social Media Essay

Social Media and Society

Few things besides the turbulent career of Brad Pitt have had as many radical changes in their public perception and continued to be as unbelievably prominent and successful as social media. Over the course of less than a decade, social media transformed from a fun and frivolous source of connection and self-expression into a Hotel California-esque hellscape whose sole purpose is to drain every last drop of attention and cash from users.

Social Media Icons


A question that may pop into the head of a discerning reader at this point is the eternal question: why? The answer is simple. The pernicious and rapid deterioration of social media was due in large part to the problems that were already cemented and ubiquitous in the real world. If anything, the advent of social media provided a brief respite from the ongoing browbeating and immiseration of modern civilization. For a brief moment, people congregated, communicated, and created in a space untouched by the corrupting influences of bureaucratization, wage labor, and private property. Of course, it was all just a brief figment, a mirage not to last. The most surprising part of the free association and utopian potential of social media was that it was allowed to exist in this state for as long as it did. The default mode of society prior to the internet and the one to which we have quickly returned is heavily regimented, controlled, and commodified. To quote Jean Jacques Rousseau, “man was born free and everywhere he is in chains.” 

The omnipresent control of society was for a moment abated by the escape into the World Wide Web. Now, we have come to a state in which, instead of liberating us, the internet and social media have rapidly increased and intensified the invasion of control into every aspect of our lives. However, I believe the early days of social media were unplanned. Companies and institutions were, for a little while, ignorant of its potential, and the swift shift towards profit-maximizing and control was a purely opportunistic reaction. The evolution of social media perfectly exemplifies Jean Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on the corrupting influences of institutions, showing how people’s natural compassion can be transformed into selfishness and greed.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was a Swiss-born philosopher and prominent thinker of the Enlightenment. His contributions to the disciplines of political thought, philosophy, and music theory have had immeasurable influence on the development of Western thought and are still controversial and influential to this day. Rousseau was unique among the thinkers of the Enlightenment for his pessimism. While many of his predecessors and contemporaries sung the praises of progress in the fields of reason, arts, and science during the 16th and 17th centuries, Rousseau was not convinced. He saw civilization as a corrupting force that resulted in people being motivated by greed, vanity, and a lust for power. He identified the constant pressures that people feel to this day: the pressure to acquire social status, prestige, power, and unnecessary commodities, and linked them to the influence of civilized society. Rousseau contrasted the corruption of civilization with the ideal state of nature which he believed was defined by equality and compassion. He viewed these as the innate characteristics of humans, without the external interference of societal expectations placed upon them.

At its inception in the early 2000s, social media represented a fair but imperfect simulation of Rousseau’s idealized state of nature, which he described as a morally neutral and peaceful condition in which individuals acted according to their own desires and associated freely. It was a world that was unexplored and ripe with possibility. A whole generation embarked on a journey to explore this world together. The main function of early social media was to express oneself in any way one chose and establish connections and friendships. People came together in so many ways: chatrooms, photo sharing, creating websites, making music, blogging (ahem), developing and sharing games and ideas. The result was a messy and beautiful combination of people’s best selves. Of course, there was a seedy underbelly of cyberbullying and predatory behavior, but often it was a spilling over of these behaviors from the real world. However, this was a small part of the whole and not the main. Instead, social media was for a brief, glimmering moment a venue for decentralized individuals to actualize and realize themselves free from the overarching constraints and pressures of societal expectations, norms, and rules.

Just as in Rousseau’s model, the state of nature was not to last. The online world of social media was quickly civilized. The processes of centralization and monopolization began. The wide spectrum of platforms and options folded in on itself and became a few powerful tech giants. As a result of their ease of use and convenience, people gravitated towards these all-consuming platforms, whose names we are all too familiar with today, which had become the only real options if one wanted to reach more than a small marginal community. With the mass population once again at their mercy, businesses went down the well-established road of maximizing profits and market share. The old pressures of society returned with a vengeance: vanity, greed, climbing the social ladder, and even the twin powers of wage labor and private property reasserted themselves. The consequences of this are clear for all to see whenever they log on: social media influencers, advertisements, walled social media gardens, and the constant and nefarious scraping and mining of our data and content to fuel the growth of these businesses. We are all now once again at the mercy of massive institutions that do not have our best interests at heart. The only logical response to this new environment is to behave in a way that is rewarded in this world, the same way we act in the real world, only on steroids because of the nature of the beast that is social media.

Rousseau believed the creep of civilization and all of its consequences were inevitable. He saw the arc of history irrevocably bent towards bureaucratic, institutional power taking the wheel and dictating our behavior and responses. The brief and incomplete history of social media sketched here tends to bear this belief out. Its trajectory from a tool for free expression to a mechanism of control and profit mirrors Rousseau’s insights into the corrupting nature of societal institutions. However, the internet is a vast and unpredictable force, and people are an innovative and adaptable group. Many have recognized the degradation and descent of these platforms and turned to other outlets – even outside the screen. People around the world still use the internet as a force for good. There is still hope that one day we may yet break our chains!

Help Stop Spam

The Definitive Answer on How You Can Help Stop Spam

Here is how you can help stop spam forever… It’s simple:

  • Do not buy their products or use their services.
  • Do not click on any links in the message.
  • Do not reply to them to complain.
  • Do not use their “unsubscribe” link as that will just let them know your email address is active.
  • Do not post or forward the messages to alert others or complain on Social Media.
Help Stop Spam! – Warning a Web Site Who’s Time Should be Past

This is some unbelievable “gall”- in both definitions of the word: 1) bold, impudent behavior and 2) the contents of the gallbladder; bile. 

The online dating website not only bombs their own paid Members with all kinds of annoying advertising but recently began to post Fake “Virus Found” Warnings on their live pages! This is not some hacker’s work this is being posted on the page as legit advertising by the owners of this waste of digital space. 

WARNING: Everyone should be aware and not give any money. 

This is an all time low. But I suppose it is indicative of “Our Time” that we live in. 

Fake Virus Found Our Time Ad
Capture of a page in showing Fake “Virus Found” Ad shame on you! 

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