Our world is a world of technology, and technology is part of what has made human beings so adept at survival. Yet, the 21st century has seen a new type of technology that is unlike anything ever seen before. This new information technology is known as social media (including such things as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.), and it has the power to influence our very being. However, we are seemingly uncritical and unconcerned about social media in relation to society. This project attempts to analyze social media and its relationship to human beings from an ontological standpoint. I do so by exploring both the ontic and the ontological aspects of social media. In order to do so, I use a method of hermeneutical inquiry and phenomenological exploration. By using the works of several different thinkers, I attempt to get at the essence of the relationship between humans and social media. First, using the works of Martin Heidegger, I argue that there is an ethical dimension contained within the concept of authenticity. Then, using the works of psychologists, phenomenologists, and cognitive scientists, I show that social media has just as much control over us as we think we have over it. Lastly, I return to Heidegger's work in order to understand what the very essence of social media is, and I then explain what our relationship to social media ought to be in order to live authentically. In doing so, I attempt to explain how we can gain a free relation to social media in order to establish the ways in which it can be most helpful to us.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Zimmerman, Douglas, "Navigating authenticity in the age of the internet a phenomenological exploration of the existential effects of social media" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1378.