Antisocial Media

“Nobody but the most sorely misguided of citizens becomes a Morris dancer in order to overthrow capitalism, whereas many a feminist has greeted the prospect with acclaim.” –Terry Eagleton, in a Commonweal essay, from the latest issue. And I would link it here because it is very, very good, except that I didn’t read it online.  And I am pretending that it is only available in print.

Here’s how I read it: my dad mailed it to me, through the U.S. Postal Service, after having read it himself, in the print version of the magazine, to which he subscribes.

To all who think that the print magazine is dead: no.

Supplementary note: this essay is worth getting ahold of especially if you have been subjecting yourself to Dave Eggers’ The Circle, which I have. Reading the essay, in analog form, recommended by my own personal father, and not by an algorithm, was deeply therapeutic.

Also you should all read The Circle. On some level I wish every student at Harbor would read it, because they are terribly unthoughtful about their use of social media. I was geeking out about it to the school librarian earlier. But it is way beyond R rated… but the good may outweigh the bad…

But I am not actually tempted to get off social media by it, because it makes me realize how differently I use it than the way it’s portrayed in the book. I don’t use it to garner large amounts of Likes; I’m not sure that posting about Terry Eagleton essays will ever be the most effective way to do that. I use it to have conversations with people whom I have come to care about. A single comment from someone I know, which helps me understand reality better and challenges me to choose better, relationships that develop over time… that’s how I’ve experienced social media.  Essentially, my use of social media has been profoundly anti-democratic.  And this may be the best self-check for how you are using it: Do you care about the number of likes, or shares, or do you care about the specific people who comment, who talk back, who like or share? Do you care, in other words, about people, or about data?