Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.
So, what would Sartre, Bentham, Adorno and Hegel really think of Social Media?
That’s a good question, but first, I want to explain something else.
As a philosophy major (and ahem, president of the philosophy club) at Flagler College, I’m often asked, “Why did you choose to major in philosophy?”
I get it. “What can you do with a philosophy degree” is the thought behind that question. My typical answer is that studying philosophy helps you understand yourself and others better, and helps you make better decisions in life. Since life is short and inherently ephemeral, making beneficial, well-informed decisions should be a priority. I’ve been wrong a lot in life, so critical thinking helps me avoid that in the future. Plus, it helps me appeal to nobler, more virtuous acts.
Another benefit of studying philosophy is having a better understanding of Social Media. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but any way a person can understand Social Media can help me better determine the overall purpose and predict the future of where Social Media is heading. We’re experts in Social Media here at Make Me Social, and somehow, understanding self-differentiating unity and the principium individuations greatly assist me in that.
That being said, over the next several posts, I would like to talk about how different philosophers would view Social Media based on their published perspectives and ideas (I understand philosophy isn’t most people’s idea of leisure reading, so before you languish in fear of death by boredom, I promise to make this fun).
Social Media and Sartre’s Existentialism
Let’s start with existentialism. Does social networking have an existential existence? I’m saying yes. But wait – what is existentialism anyway? I’ve always been fond of Sartre’s simple definition: “Existentialism means that existence precedes essence.” So what does that mean? Here’s an example:
A fork’s essence precedes its existence. When the fork was created, it had a design and purpose in mind, but as humans, our existence precedes our essence. First we are created, and then we have to define ourselves and give ourselves purpose and identity. Fun stuff, huh?
Social networking was created and then we gave it meaning. In other words, existence precedes status updates. We give sites like Facebook and Twitter purpose and identity and continue to redefine those purposes. A perfect example is the revolts in Egypt who used them to gain worldwide attention and support in their efforts.
Sartre was noted for saying, “We are condemned to be free,” but if he was still alive, his next sentence may have been, “We are also condemned to make status updates.”
In our next post, we will talk about Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon (or, “Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO”)
Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.