Is Facebook making us more adventurous?

When was the last time you heard someone say “get off of Facebook (or Instagram? or twitter, or …) and DO something!”?

I have a favorite passage from Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea:

This is what I thought: for the most banal even to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story. But you have to choose: live or tell.

We experience life through the stories we tell, and through the stories of others. It has always been the case. Even before the internet.

So does that mean that social media, which demands the persistent sharing of ‘adventures,’ actually make our lives richer? Does the compulsion to share more moments as if they were significant events render our lives more event-ful?

I eat the same breakfast every day and never remember it. I take a single picture of my meal, and oatmeal becomes an event.

Research suggests that kids today are doing less. And that is probably right. But as they have more opportunities to narrate their lives, perhaps they are more adventurous.

Twitter, Smug Intellectualism, Trolls, and Philosophical Charity

Yesterday, I witnessed an exchange on Twitter that continues to bother me.

In the interest of citing sources and providing evidence, my first inclination is to embed the public conversation here. But, especially in this current climate, citing a personality in association with a controversial piece of content frequently serves to distract from the specific issues at hand. It is also not my intention to ‘call out’ any particular individual, but rather to use the situation as an opportunity to think through some issues related to philosophical charity, social media, and anti-intellectualism. Continue reading