The dialectical nature of social networking
Amiradakis, Mark Jacob
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This study aims to provide a critical assessment of social networking sites along with the underlying form of rationality propelling such technological innovations. The hypothesis of this study is rooted in the firm conviction that while social networking sites can be regarded as impressive technological achievements, and while there are certainly an array of benefits that can be associated with them, they nevertheless can be perceived as a hegemonic force which surreptitiously undermines the autonomy and freedom of the modern individual. In order to corroborate and augment such an assertion, this study relies primarily on the critical works of Adorno and Horkheimer (1997); Bauman (2003; 2007 & 2013) and Foucault (1977) in order to both investigate and critically evaluate the everyday assumptions typically associated with a technologically enlightened society, techno-scientific rationality and the recent emergence of technological tools such as social networking services. Based upon the findings that have emerged throughout the course of this investigation, it becomes clear to see that there is indeed a dialectical tension inherent to the nature of the various social networking technologies as they currently operate within the 21st century. Such a discovery is primarily based upon the fact that while social networking technologies do inherently possess emancipatory potentialities for the modern individual, they have nevertheless failed to actualise such potentialities due to the following reasons: 1) Social networking technologies have managed to propagate and entrench a powerful sentiment of technological determinism within modern society along with a highly corrosive form of instrumentalized rationality to which all individuals are now required to acquiesce; 2) Such technologies are paradoxically abrogating the possibility of meaningful interpersonal contiguity due to the fact they have managed to commodify the technological culture associated with a digital form of interaction/communication along with the individual making use of such technologies; and 3) In their current format, social networking services are allowing for the objectification, manipulation and exploitation of the online subject to take place in order to pursue and promote an instrumentalized strategy of marketing surveillance and capital accumulation.
- Humanities