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  1.  (5587.1)
    if a bit one-sided


    I know I keep on this, but it is important. The study is not one-sided. The study is about the impacts of length of exposure to information and the results in emotional reaction and development. The study was not "is twitter (or what ever social network device) good?" Twitter is an example of a technology that may have a genuine developmental draw backs if the results of the study are accurate. It is an somewhat trenedy application of the results, but that does not mean it is not a good question to ask in light of those results.

    One sided presumes they started with the thesis: are twitter-like things are harmful to emotional development? That would not get much funding without earlier studies to set the question up at least. By contrast, I would hazard the actual thesis was: does duration of exposure to information impact emotional response?
  2.  (5587.2)
    One sided presumes they started with the thesis: are twitter-like things are harmful to emotional development? That would not get much funding without earlier studies to set the question up at least. By contrast, I would hazard the actual thesis was: does duration of exposure to information impact emotional response?


    You have a point there, and I might be confusing CNN's reporting with the study itself here indeed.
  3.  (5587.3)
    I kind of see Twitter as a reversion to older ways; the short, to the point messages on twitter are kind of similar to very old news paper articles, which had to be short enough to be telegraphed across countries to the paper publishers.


    I can seen superficial similarities, but the one-to-many format is quite different, as is the intent and use in practice. Technology tends to be transformative in unexpected ways, the telegraph helped to destroy previous notions of distance. (Much like the filling cabinet created the modern notion of organization.) I think social networking may be "destroying" the need for personal clarity in one-to-one communications, as well as reorganizing our relationships into mutual star patterns extending from each person. Instead of interacting one on one, we place a web of information about us and let people partake of it.

    That has both very scary and very intriguing ramifications. Combine that with possible changes to how we process information (again) and this is something I very much want studied.

    BTW: this is now my favorite thread in ages. Thanks Andre.
  4.  (5587.4)
    Yeah -- if we can let the validity of the research itself rest for a second, and discuss its subject:

    Twitter is so compact in its presentation of info, that it doesn't really dig into any kind of emotional imput-processing. It's just headlines. Even when a bunch of posts are personal, and mention mood, it's on the same level as flipping throug a magazine, and seeing a picture of a family smiling on one page, and family mourning their car-bombed father on the next: of changing channels on TV, getting the same kind of flicker of reality. It's noise. The brain knows how to filter emotional noise out and not lose sight of the important stuff, the same as pure visual noise.

    Fucking facebook, on the other hand... That shit's gonna end the authentic human relationship.
  5.  (5587.5)
    Jeez this thread's moving too fast for me. how ironic
  6.  (5587.6)
    Hahaha isn't it?
  7.  (5587.7)
    Which is another point worth discussing: how easy it is, nowadays, to read this quick information and "digest it" with other people, precisely as we're doing now. That should be taken into account as well.
  8.  (5587.8)
    Twitter is so compact in its presentation of info, that it doesn't really dig into any kind of emotional imput-processing. It's just headlines


    I can only offer small N to counter this. But at least from personal history and those of some people I know, this is not universally true. And I think that gets the the heart of the initial concern. If people react to "tweets" without the time for genuine emotional processing, and it becomes a primary form of communication (not just through twitter obviously), that changes the scope of human interaction in some manner. And changes how we learn to parse complex emotional logic.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009
     (5587.9)
    ...as well as reorganizing our relationships into mutual star patterns extending from each person. Instead of interacting one on one, we place a web of information about us and let people partake of it.

    This has been happening for decades. It's just that social networking sites make it easier to do efficiently. It's just a version of "knowing a guy." We've always spewed out a cloud of information, it's just that back in the day, that information was called gossip. Now if I say something on Twitter, instead of taking a week to get around the office, it will take a few minutes, tops. (Not that there's anyone in my office but me...)

    I've always viewed any internet-based mode of communication, in either or both directions, as just being another tool. Another resource. I could call my buddy about what he thinks the best LCD monitor is, or I could pose the question on Twitter and get a bunch of people's opinions and call my buddy.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the people that claim that social networking is destroying humanity are just the sort of people whose livelihoods depend on it pushing that agenda so they can continue to write papers without having to adapt to new modes of transmission and dissemination. Like, say, newspapers writing commentary pieces on how the internet is killing newspapers, rather than actually trying to adapt to using online resources as tools. Saying "Twitter rots your brain" is pretty much the same thing. Millions of people are using Twitter. Are we turning to wriggling masses of stupid because of it? I have yet to see it on Whitechapel. If anything we're learning more about each other... which is sort of the point of communication.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAdmiral Neck
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009 edited
     (5587.10)
    If people react to "tweets" without the time for genuine emotional processing,

    See also: #amazonfail. Even those of us watching from outside got wrapped up in it too (well, some of us did).
  9.  (5587.11)
    And changes how we learn to parse complex emotional logic


    True -- though I think your previous point -- which is distinct from how this study looked at the issue -- is more potent: that twitter is another part of people broadcasting themselves openly, casting a net: the death of the private persona: people don't feel their own interests and thoughts have any validity outside of 'sharing' them with others. The imput portion is more innocuous, I would ever-so frivolously suppose.

    Like you say, I'd love for it to be extensively studied. That's psychology and sociology's jobs! If the social framework is evolving, science needs to be on the ground floor, because the old stuff is no good anymore.
  10.  (5587.12)
    See also: #amazonfail. Even those of us watching from outside got wrapped up in it too (well, some of us did).


    Yes, true. Instead of reading and thinking about it, which they would normally do with no people around or easy way of communicating with them, a lot of people just went straight to writing their knee-jerk reaction or suggesting boycotts and later, it's not easy to take back what you said when the dust clears and things are revealed not to be so black-and-white.

    But reading something and thinking about it before commenting is common sense and self-control. I'm not saying I excel at these, but I do try.
  11.  (5587.13)
    Related Links:
    scientist warns of danger...and admits there's no evidence for it! (BAD BAD scientist, no science-cookies for you!)
    More on Greenfield and her...upcoming novel.
    General crud on internet + brain by the Dana Foundation
    Digital fluency in the modern world.
    Another article on brain wiring and evolution of the modern brain due to our new digital world.

    ....kinda annoyed that I can't find the link I used to have to one of the actual journal articles about this stuff :P
  12.  (5587.14)
    I've always viewed any internet-based mode of communication, in either or both directions, as just being another tool. Another resource. I could call my buddy about what he thinks the best LCD monitor is, or I could pose the question on Twitter and get a bunch of people's opinions and call my buddy.


    Which is another N=1 of course. And the thing is as long as the Ns differ all the questions should be asked. More so, tools transform the user, and it is fascinating (and from my ken a scientific good) to investigate how.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the people that claim that social networking is destroying humanity are just the sort of people whose livelihoods depend on it pushing that agenda so they can continue to write papers without having to adapt to new modes of transmission and dissemination.


    Transforming or destroying older modes of thought is not the same as "destroying humanity." Being aware of consequences does not say all those consequences are bad (or good, most will be neutral as ever). I j dislike technological fundamentalism as much as any kind of fundamentalism. It is our want to question and understand, and technology is not free from those challenges. Mistaking any such challenge for the same thing as "X rots your brain" is too close to fear of asking the question for me.
  13.  (5587.15)
    the death of the private persona: people don't feel their own interests and thoughts have any validity outside of 'sharing' them with others. The imput portion is more innocuous, I would ever-so frivolously suppose.


    I was thinking more in terms of the loss of mutual construction of identity within a conversation, but this is a really interesting take on it. We are more and more often encouraged and rewarded for sharing our internal monologues and private worlds, while at the same time have more control over the version of ourselves we present.
  14.  (5587.16)
    But reading something and thinking about it before commenting is common sense and self-control. I'm not saying I excel at these, but I do try


    Which is true, but that goes to what you actually say in the end. If the tools and process change how you think and feel, even internally, to a degree, there is a transformative aspect no matter what you decide to put down. More so, your very choices about what to say publicly might change along with.

    Ironically : I really have some things to get done. I think I need to run for a bit before this thread consume me.
  15.  (5587.17)
    I'd be interested in comparing how cultures that are deemed less emotionally overt and more restrained than americans respond to various internet applications and how the new 'digital/internet' world is impacting them.
  16.  (5587.18)
    Excellent links, by the way, Roo.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009
     (5587.19)
    But my point is this, JTraub:

    I have a question to ask. I call my friend to ask him this question, and get a response. I can do the same thing on Twitter. It's no different from seeing a news story on TV and immediately calling him and telling him this news story I saw. All it does is speed up propagation time. It's like an old game of Telephone (or whatever you want to call it): a story started on one end can be vastly different by the time it comes around again. It's just a very fast, global version of Telephone.

    Is it necessarily changing the way we think? I don't think so. Using the aforementioned #amazonfail, I was simply reporting what I knew to be true at the time. Long after I'd formed an opinion (that it actually was a glitch) people were still under the opinion that a hacker with code that didn't work did it using functionality that didn't exist because they didn't take the time to research what they'd been told. Is that a systemic problem? No. That's a problem with them. Twitter doesn't cause people to disregard the whole story any more than any other form of communication. That's my point.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009
     (5587.20)
    @root

    Being pretty familiar with the Japanese, I think I can guess an answer at this. The Japanese are more restrained when it comes to public displays of emotion; that's not to say it doesn't happen, they just tend to be less overt. And twitter is HUGE in Japan; at one time, more Japanese than Americans were using the service. Why? I have no idea...