Contradictory to the digital tidal wave of the 21st century, Dr. Cal Newport delivers a talk on social media that completely rejects the online communication phenomenon. The speaker is a professor, a millennial computer scientist, a book author and a person who has no social media accounts. On the basis of his experience, Cal Newport informs that not being connected through these digital platforms does not necessarily have a negative impact on one's quality of life. In fact, it makes a person happier, far more productive and successful professionally.
The talk on social media revolves around Newport's vision of the future, where fewer people use the services offered by platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In order to advocate for the mindful merit behind the abolition of social media accounts, the speaker takes a look at the three main objections against it.
The first ground for defending social media use is the fact that it is "the fundamental technology of the 21st century." However, Cal Newport argues that there is a fallacy in ascribing this quality to channels of communication. Social media is not a fundamental technology but it rather leverages fundamental technology to entertain, mine and sell personal data. Therefore, rejecting social media is essentially substituting one type of entertainment for another.
The second objection is that without social media, it is impossible to thrive in the 21st-century economy. Cal Newport counters that it is absolutely possible to do so, because what the market values is the ability to produce unique, useful and high-quality objects and services, while it dismisses replicated activities. Social media enables the latter.
The final objection the speaker addresses during his talk on social media is the fact that digital platforms of this nature are genuinely fun and do not actually cause substantial harm. However, Newport offers a compelling amount of information that ties the emergence of social media use to the onset of higher levels of anxiety and loss of attention span. Furthermore, he elaborates on the possibility of a permanent reduction in the ability to sustain concentration, as well as a fundamental psychological mismatch between the wiring of the brain and the behavior that social media platforms enable.