How Social Media Is The Answer to Everything (Well, Almost): Connections

Today I was challenged to think about the kinds of things that I “read” as well as how I can share these things with people, which is why I am writing this post. As I began thinking of the different things I “read” in the literal context of books and written words, I realized my inventory was not very large. I’m not an avid reader, and I’m ok to admit that. As much as I would love to sit down and read a book, although sometimes I do, I find myself much more interested in making hands on (or thoughts-on) discoveries. When I took “reading” out of the literal sense, I decided that “reading” doesn’t have to be words on a page, although that is the common form. Our brains can “read” emotions from others, interpret pictures, and at the simplest form observe the people, things and events taking place around us. In saying this, how can observation and discovery not be a kind of reading? In the non-literal sense of reading, I found that I do A LOT of reading. 

In my daily life I find myself seeing a seemingly simple object and wondering “Wow, how would I explain this to someone from the 18th century?”. Usually this “person” happens to Benjamin Franklin for some reason. Yes, its weird but when you really think about it, you can’t just explain one thing without explaining other things that we don’t normally think about. While some objects don’t require a whole lot of context, many of our most common everyday things can reveal almost the entire cultural history of the Western World in the last century. So this is why social media is the answer to everything, well at least every question someone from the 18th century might ask. Just think about it. In order to explain social media you need to explain computers and cellphones, pictures, the internet, and electricity for goodness sake. Within all of these, they require even more explanations to go with them. So in theory, by the time you provided someone with the proper context to understand social media you have practically explained the entire cultural and innovative history of the last century. 

So what does this have to do with anything besides the fact that I have very strange interests? It has to do with everything we do and every decision that we make. Whenever we are faced with a decision from what to eat for lunch all the way to where you should go to college, we naturally think about variables, typically phrased as questions, that have an effect on the outcome and results of a decision. We use our contextual knowledge of the world around us as well as connecting past experiences with emotions to form our decisions. While we don’t always make the correct the decision, our minds naturally, even if we don’t know it, weigh the potential effects of the decision. 

Now lets move onto a decision in the form of choosing a project, or as we phrase the in iD, ventures. Choosing a venture is s much bigger decision than what to eat for lunch for obvious reasons. Ventures are typically intended to make an impact. So what if, just like when I figure out how to explain social media to an 18th century person, we uncovered the connections between variables? What would it look like if we stopped seeing only the effects of the intended user, but the world as a whole? What if we thought about more than the outcome, and thought about the effects of the process? A project’s purpose is not always its only action. We need to look at how it will effect us in the process and what we will learn through our discoveries.

So I’m not sure if this really made sense, or if it was even a cohesive thought, but I hope I was able to portray more than my strange thought processes. When choosing something we want to pursue, we need to connect all the variables and see their connections to other variables. There is no such thing as an isolated process and much less an isolated impact. What we think the purpose is to be is the smallest part of the whole impact. The whole impact goes way beyond that through connected variables and affects way beyond an intended user on many levels.

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One thought on “How Social Media Is The Answer to Everything (Well, Almost): Connections

  1. Margaret, I love your reflection that “There is no such thing as an isolated process and much less an isolated impact.” Examining unintended consequences of our actions and the way that entire systems can shift with a change in one variable is fascinating to me as well! Keep these reflections coming 🙂

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