Anti Social Media by Tyler McNally

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Bio: Tyler McNally, Freelance Photographer, @Redtography

Synopsis: How can something as ubiquitous as social media be ‘anti social’? This is a question that has

dominated my thinking over the last three months as I tried to cobble together a piece that best

reflects my opinions on the subject. I found it easy to find single points of reference such as

obsessive compulsive checking of smart phones or the quagmire of online dating but even then I

knew I was missing something. What many will prefer us to think is that social media is ‘anti social’

because ‘anti social’ people use it or something else of equally individualistic or meaningless value.

The reason I say this is because social media is a part of our everyday life, Facebook receives millions

of photographs every second, more people than ever are preferring to use online dating sites such

as OKCupid and Plenty of Fish to find a potential loved one, we are even seeing people become

celebrities purely through their use of Twitter or Youtube. Social media is even a tool that has helped

topple oppressive governments, such as those of Egypt and Tunisia. How can this tool that has such

varied applications be ‘Anti Social’?

People often treat social media and cyberspace in general as something outside the material world,

that it is a separate entity in which we take part in and enjoy as an escape pod from a material

reality of Sexism, Homophobia, Austerity, Capitalism and Alienation. Others see Facebook and

Twitter as hives of Misogynistic and Sexist abuse, such as the abuse people like Anita Sarkeesian and

Laurie Penny have faced on Twitter for being outspoken supporters of Feminism and Women’s

Rights. Social media hasn’t set us free from our own personal worlds, it’s a reflection of our world

and it is very anti social.

We live in a world where people are jailed for being homeless as Millionaires and Billionaires buy

Governments but avoid Taxation. Women are told they can’t have reproductive rights, that they are

to blame for Rape, they are told to aspire to impossible levels of ‘beauty’ by buying make up and

perfume, to wear clothes that make them attractive to Men, only to be labelled as ‘Sluts’ or

‘Whores’ for doing so.

Pornography shapes our sexual desires and Religious Moralism shapes our sexual education. Tinder

tells us to choose our dates by how good their picture is, OKCupid and Plenty of Fish will help you

find a partner, provided you are prepared to pay for it and take out premium memberships which

basically allow you to stalk people without getting caught. Cinema tells us that Women find love

through fairy tale-esque Princes who fall in love at first glance and tell Men that they’ll find love

through hyper masculinity and rock hard abs.

Before Smartphones, we went to Nightclubs and drank to avoid dealing with alienation and anxiety.

Now we sit on phones, post ‘Selfies’ and spend so much time telling Facebook we’re having a great

time that we forget the company we keep. Our World is anti social, and it will remain anti social so

long as it is profitable for the wealthy and this is why social media is anti social. They’d rather we

were anti social than Anti Capitalist; Our ‘Killing Joke’

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One thought on “Anti Social Media by Tyler McNally

  1. Very true. I have an ex partner that uses social media to meet people because she has various issues and problems. To her it’s her world even though the people she meets tend to just make her problems worse.
    Social media is fine as a compliment to real life but when it’s your whole world then the real problems start. We’ve become detached and isolated as human beings.
    We’re social animals that need the company of our own kind and sadly we’re not getting that we’re just living in isolation and when that happens we see people dying in there apartments not being found for months at a time And we wonder how cases like that can happen.

    Like

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