The Dark Side of Social Media

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Originally posted on New Honesty

 

A while ago I begged everyone I knew via social media to help me by participating in my master study ‘The Dark Side of Social Media’. I received an incredible response from 350+ people. To be honest, at the time I posted the study, I didn’t know what would be ‘dark’ about it. And while I personally believe that humans are very adaptable to whatever is thrown at them, I do think it is good to evaluate every new way in which we evolve. And social media is changing us at a societal level right now. While I am not here to try to find an answer to the question, if humankind benefits from social media or not, I am trying to help finding out what may change for one person.

 

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Black Mirror – a great show about social media!

 

First things first, I should probably tell you that this study wasn’t only focused on social media. The other focus of this study was the fear of missing out, or FOMO. If you haven’t heard of it, FOMO is probably exactly what you think it might be. It’s an anxiety that you’re missing out on fun or cool experiences while believing that others have so much more fulfilling lives. Social media can intensify the undesirable feeling of missing out on something. But people on social media are not very honest. We all post polished pictures of carefully curated content – and NOT realistic portrayals of everyday lives. However, when we’re home alone scrolling through the Instagram feed, it’s easy to think that everyone else’s life is so much more exciting. In this moment, we don’t consider that (almost) everyone chooses the content presented carefully. And I won’t even start discussing photo editing and photo filters…

 

Now, what does science say about social media and how it affects us? I would simply say, science isn’t sure about social media. Social media is still a relatively new topic. There are lots of results but to be honest, we need hundreds more and big meta-analyses to come to any kind of conclusion. But let’s talk about what most studies found out so far.

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The show Broad City joined the FOMO-conversation too!

While social media is meant for communication (at least it was, at some point), this is not it’s only purpose. But let’s talk about the communicational aspect first. Social media is a good outlet for people who long for more social connectedness or for shy/introverted people who want to train their social skills. More extroverted people may gain from amplification of social benefits. However, a ‘rich-get-richer’ model states that social media is only socially fulfilling for those who already have a good social support system offline. This is why some authors believe that social media usage can cause loneliness or even depressive symptomatic. At this point the association is not clear. Only thing I am sure of is that it’s possible that social media causes loneliness but it doesn’t have to.

 

A lot of research has gone into social media addiction. First things first, social media addiction is not a psychiatric disease according to diagnostic manuals DSM or ICD – this means it is no ‘official’ disease. On a side note, burnout is no official disease either – doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
Most authors (for only one exception I could find) are pretty sure that social media is potentially addictive. I am personally certain that it is. The results of my study, personal experiences and the literature has convinced me of it. This would mean that some people can become addicted to social media just like others become addicted to alcohol or drugs. When addicts aren’t able to ‘use’, they will be unhappy and experience negative side effects. ‘Side-effects’ of social media addiction (as described in the literature) are loss over control of time spend on social media, sleep problems, neglect of significant activities such as work, school, relationships and deterioration of academic performance.

Now, why do people love to use social media so much? It’s pretty simple actually! At their core, most social media tools use a simple reward-system. If you post a nice selfie or other quality content, you will instantly receive positive feedback via Likes or comments. Feels great, doesn’t it? We will continue using what makes us feel better (about ourselves). BUT: Ever uploaded a not-so-great-selfie and didn’t receive as much positive feedback? Did feel shitty, right? Everyone else seems to think that you’re not having the best day – damn! So, keep up the good posts and receive some nice little instant gratification for it, every time you need it.

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A theory of social media and selfies

Besides the reward-system another interesting aspect is how social media works for narcissistic people. Social media is a great outlet for self-promotional behavior and a great way to strengthen your feelings of self-worth. So of course, there’s a connection between narcissism and social media activity. 

 

Let's talk about my study now. 

 

Intro | Disclaimer
I checked my data for response anomalies and deleted conspicuous data sets, however, I don’t know how conscientious the participants filled out my survey. The sample was a convenience sample and is therefore not representative. Calculations are correlations and therefore not causal results. I don’t want to annoy anyone with statistical/mathematical bullshit, so I will only add one value of power after each result, the effect size (small, medium, large). The effect size tells how ‘strong’ a result is. If you have any questions about the method (or the theory), simply leave a comment!

 

fomo

Social media activity leads to FOMO
I already mentioned that I focused on social media usage and the fear of missing out. One of my questions was if FOMO can exist without social media or if FOMO needs amplification from social media. My data shows that social media and FOMO are inseparably linked to each other (very large effect size). I’d suggest that FOMO is a symptom of constant social media activity.

 

Social media and smart phones affect all of us similarly

Most of the demographic comparisons weren’t significant. Women are slightly more prone to develop a social media addiction or FOMO (low effect sizes). Younger participants scored higher in FOMO than older participants (low effect size as well). A lot more interesting though is that other influences (age, education, occupation, personal status) were irrelevant for the development of social media addiction. The same goes for FOMO in connection with smart phones and social media. I suggest that this is pretty clear evidence that technical equipment and software affects all of us in a very similar way. Or: Whoever you are doesn’t matter, everyone can develop a social media addiction or FOMO under certain circumstances.

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“Blitzgiving” on HIMYM, the first sitcom discussing FOMO

Who is who on social media
I didn’t find any connections between extraversion/introversion and social media activity/FOMO. The only robust connection with basic personality traits was between social media activity/FOMO and emotional instability (‘neuroticism’ – medium effect size). Who is emotional instable? Per definition, we’re talking about people who get angry or lose their peace easily and people who react negatively in stressful situations. The question now is why this trait correlates with social media usage and to be honest, I am not sure. Do you have any ideas? (Serious question)

 

Social media, loneliness and well-being
As mentioned earlier, I believe that FOMO is a symptom of constant social media activity. However, only FOMO – and not the social media activity – correlates positively with loneliness (rather low to medium effect size). This seems plausible to me as social media can take up a lot of time. Social media easily makes you forget other tasks or ‘real’ relationships.

I also found a negative connection with psychological well-being. If you use social media very often and score high in FOMO, you will be more likely not to feel as good psychologically (rather low effect size).

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Artwork by Pierre et Gilles

Social comparison via social media leads to envious feelings
Social media makes us compare ourselves to other people subconsciously, especially on apps like Instagram. I already expected a connection with envious feelings but didn’t expect that it would be the strongest of all personality correlates (high effect size for social media activity and FOMO).

Interestingly, negative connections with feelings of self-worth reflect on the connection with narcissism. Vulnerable narcissism, a form of narcissism connected to low feelings of self-esteem, was clearly connected to both, social media activity and FOMO (medium to high effect size). While grandiose narcissists show typical self-aggrandizing behavior, vulnerable narcissists are not as confident in themselves. Social media is a perfect way to deal with a low self-esteem. If you post nice pictures or other content, you will receive positive feedback via Likes and comments. I already wrote about the reward system fueling most social media tools.

Talking about rewards, I also suggested that high social media activity makes people get used to instant gratifications while bigger goals are being neglected. Social media uses instant gratifications (e.g. Likes), a kind of positive feedback you will receive following every posting. We will keep using things that work well for us. My data strengthened the assumption that people using social media frequently prefer instant gratifications over delayed gratifications/long-term objectives (medium effect size).

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Black Mirror’s episode ‘Nosedive’. 

Did we lose our thirst for adventure?
To keep this last part short, I expected that FOMO includes a thirst for adventure and a lust for life (‘Sensation Seeking’). I thought it’d be plausible that people who fear missing out on something want to have a lot of satisfying experiences. However, I didn’t find any connections between social media activity/FOMO and sensation seeking! Therefore, I suggest FOMO doesn’t mean that you’re scared of missing out on life but that you rather wouldn’t want to experience less than your friends present on their social media accounts. I guess, we’re talking about social comparison and envy again.

In fact, my data suggests that people using social media constantly are rather afraid of taking risks because of possible negative consequences (medium to high effect size). Could it be that the digital generation became ‘too’ careful? I can still remember my mum saying that I shouldn’t post stuff on MySpace because it was going to haunt me later in life. I might lose a future job just by being myself. Did the fear of living transparently made us clean up our acts? And why are we scared that a risk doesn’t pay off? Is it more comfortable not taking any risks at all? Or why else is social media activity/FOMO connected with behavioral inhibition due to fear of negative consequences?

 

Final Words
These were my most important results in a very short summary. The final thesis however will cover a lot more than presented here. I was really surprised by some results, and I hope that science continues evaluating social media. I hope you understood, what I was talking about because I had a hard time compressing a lot of information in a short text. 

Please don’t forget that these are only the results of one study and another study might come to a different conclusion. However, if you every decide to distance yourself a little bit from social media, my tip would be to set your phone on airplane mode before going to sleep and not laying your phone near the bed. Enjoy the rest!

Comments

Bill Caciene Added Jul 7, 2017 - 9:07pm
To be sure, people are addicted to social media and being addicted to anything is inherently bad.  However, prior to social media people were addicted to other things like video games or talking on the phone.  So as addicts go, all social media did was become the next big thing and I see no reason to treat is as harshly as you do.  Let’s also not forget all the benefits to social media like you sharing this article with us, staying in contact with family or always knowing what’s happening so you don’t miss out.  These benefits are why people gave up their other addictions for social media.   
Bill H. Added Jul 7, 2017 - 10:28pm
 
People are losing the view of the real world. They become so locked-in to what's happening in the bizzaro-world of the 3" screen.
I've actually witnessed many people on nature hikes totally locked in to their phones and tripping over rocks and tree roots. According to the local forest service, it is the number one cause of trail injuries these days. When hikers are asked to shut off their phones, many of them can't handle it and won't go on the hike.
If this is what we have come to, then I have lost total faith in my fellow human beings.
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 7, 2017 - 10:33pm
I use social media (Twitter and Medium) to find and pass on news. I also "like" things I want to save for later, would be bookmarked if that were an option. I very seldom use it to communicate with people, although on occasion it is fun to chat with a friend or favorite celebrity. Otherwise I don't really give a rat's ass if anyone likes or ReTweets or whatever what I post and I really don't share my personal life on social media, so I don't get into that narcissistic aspect of it. 
 
Incidentally I thought this was going to be about the dark web, oh well. 
George N Romey Added Jul 8, 2017 - 7:20am
I read a report yesterday that said school aged children are doing something physical only 18 minutes a day.  Children playing is out.  Children sit in front of a computer all day and parents won't allow them outdoors.  We are raising a generation of what will be grossly obese, stupid and ill social adults.  If this is the future I'm glad I'm closer to death than birth.
 
I can attest to in the business world the under 35 class tends to be unable to critically think or collaborate.  Its all about send me an Excel Spreadsheet by email that promptly gets ignored.  The days of sitting in a conference room hashing out ideas using data as a support tool are gone. 
New Honesty Added Jul 8, 2017 - 8:27am
@ Bill,
May I ask what kind of social media you use? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? Do you get that I am not talking about the average person using Facebook a couple of minutes a day? Have you ever seen a couple in a restaurant, both staring at their phones, not saying a word to each other? Would you say that this is a good development?
I never claimed that social media is inherently bad. I wouldn't put it that way at all... Let's say I believe it is better to 'enjoy responsibly'. It doesn't matter if you're addicted to video games, social media, porn or alcohol. But that doesn't mean it's just 'the next big thing' - a lot of people use social media and can potentially become addicted to it. Also, social media is specifically designed to be addictive. More so than video games. The consequences may not be as drastic on the level of one individual but may affect the whole society. Just like George stated, think of how little time kids spend with physical activities. Or how communication changes/changed.
New Honesty Added Jul 8, 2017 - 8:38am
I am aware that social medi has great benefits like communicating everyone around the world. But I believe that the downside shouldn't be neglected like being constantly available (for work or friends), never getting any peace of mind. As Bill stated perfectly, some people are used to living a digital life by now and cannot even handle swichtig their phone off. And it's not just a few people, there are a lot of people like that. Given ten years of technical evolution who knows what social media might become...
 
@Jenifer
Sorry for the confusion with the dark web lol. I hope most people find a good way to use social media in their regular lifes without it taking over.
 
@ George
I really hope that everything won't turn out as bad as you predict. I really hope people star to realize that social media can be a big waste of time. But I am very critical about it because the change is happening slowly and people may not even realize how they are being changed by technology. 
Dino Manalis Added Jul 8, 2017 - 9:23am
 Social media has both positive and negative aspects to it, that's why it needs to be monitored, like the rest of society, to stop criminal and extremist behavior online!
Bill H. Added Jul 8, 2017 - 11:29am
NH - I was on FB up until about 2012 and LinkedIn until about 4 months ago. I dropped off of both of them due to increasing privacy issues. As you are well aware, there has been a constant effort by the "customers" of social media (who want the data) to eliminate any remaining right to privacy for the "users".
Yes, I have seen both couples and entire families sitting in restaurants constantly staring at their devices and shoving them in the faces of other family members. I have attempted to communicate with people who have literally been stripped of their personalities and were almost unable to handle the "art" of verbal communication and expression due to living within a device. I attended a funeral several years back where some attendees spent the entire service staring at their devices and allowing them to emit the usual serving of sound effects.
We have recently seen how social media has been key in "bubblizing" it's users, and both Google and Facebook have been responsible for conducting social alteration experiments without user notification (although the wording of their massive user agreements that are rarely reviewed by users) allow this.
This is a great discussion, and one of massive importance that affects all of us and our future as an "enlightened society" and as a nation.
New Honesty Added Jul 8, 2017 - 11:59am
I am terribly sorry for the confusion, Bill H., the comment I left earlier was directed at Bill Caciene who stated that I treat social media too harshly. I really wonder how he can't see that social media (besides some positive benefits) affects us in a negative way.
 
I completely agree with you... I wouldn't even want to start a discussion of Big Data and how social media may be used as a political tool. We all know what happened during last US president elections. If someone wants to read how social media was used to help Trump win, I found a 'translation' of the German article here:
https://www.naij.com/1076973-trump-clinton-how-big-data-scientists-helped-trump-win-election.html
 
I am glad, Bill H., that some people see that social media brings negative consequences. As I wrote in the intro I believe that humans are very adaptable. Question is if adapting to technology is a good path for us...
Sorry again for the confusion!
Bill H. Added Jul 8, 2017 - 12:29pm
No problem! I spent many years beginning in the mid '70s building, programming, and working on interfacing and applications of computer hardware. The first unit I built was an Altair 8800, and was an officer of a local user group formed to exchange ideas, software, and applications. During these meetings we would discuss what we perceived as how computers would affect future lives. One major point was that computers could provide tons of data that would allow humans to make better decisions. We never realized that humans would get to the point that they would allow computers to make their decisions for them.
This is essentially where we are now, and it appears that as computers make more of our decisions for us, we are becoming less able to make decisions for ourselves, and of course the corporations are taking full advantage of this.
George N Romey Added Jul 8, 2017 - 1:52pm
Maybe in the long run humans learn how to rule technology and be its master.  When television first appeared many thought it would end family relationships but in the end television didn't ruin mankind.  However, technology is far more easier to access and unlike television is a two way street.  Signs right now point to a very dark future.
Katharine Otto Added Jul 8, 2017 - 3:51pm
New Honesty,
I'm a late comer to social media and a reluctant one. I prefer dealing with people face to face, but there are few kindred spirits in my immediate world.  I like places like Writer Beat and WordPress, because of the opportunity to trade thoughts and viewpoints.  Do they count as social media?
 
I've surmised that people who overuse social media are basically lonely but afraid of more intimate engagement, so they use social media as a shield, where, as you say, they can present any face they want. It's a way to be connected and disconnected at the same time.  
 
It's important to remember that social media is still in its infancy, chronologically speaking.  Whether it helps or hurts remains to be seen, but we have the chance now to influence its direction by how we respond to it.  I suspect it's probably helping to increase literacy more than school does, for one thing.  It gives kids a reason to learn to read, if not spell.
 
wsucram15 Added Jul 8, 2017 - 6:38pm
New Honesty..
I am the wrong person to ask for your data. But I found your study with the FOMO pretty accurate.  I dont care for social media...I like writing on here, but most will tell you, I can be gone for long periods of time and come back.  Depending on where I happen to be.  I dont take my laptop and I really dislike cell phones.
Sometimes, I am just working or resting and just dont feel like bothering.
I do like some tv shows though and record them when they come on for viewing when I can watch them.  The Smithsonian Channel recently had a several part series on how instruments in music came to be and what bands began their innovations and alterations..it was cool.  CNN has a show on Comedy and one on different eras, so I recorded that.   
Another one coming up I want to see is the defiant ones.
Stuff like that, oh and GOT. I like HBO the best on television..other than that, ehhh.
 
I do use twitter about once a week, for people news, like an old school underground network, sort of.  Some people I know personally and some I just work with in protest groups on research. I dont like FB at all...too intrusive.
 
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 8, 2017 - 6:58pm
Facebook is a bad joke. I initially avoided it because when I first got online as a teen my father disallowed me from joining it. Too many predators on it and all. Latter, I avoided it because all the "cool people" (ie: uncool) were on it. Today I still avoid it for privacy concerns and because of some of the political and business decisions of it's ethically challenged CEO. I'll stick with Twitter and Medium. And then only in moderation. 
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 8, 2017 - 7:49pm
Also BTW, why does everyone here hate cell phones? This is the only place online I've ever seen with so many "I hate cellphones" and "I hate smartphones" people. Why? I'll be the first to admit that I love my smartphone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge device and it does virtually everything that my computer does, plus it supports VR games and full 3D movies. I can watch Showtime and HBO and other cable shows via my Hulu app, and I customized an app for informing me of new posts on my articles on this site. Plus there are Android apps that simply do more than one can even do with a computer. Recently someone on Medium told me they accidentally posted the same thing multiple times and asked how to delete. I told them to download the Medium app, no problem. Can't do it without it. I realize that there can be security issues, but your phone only has the data on it that you put on it. It can't magically aquire personal data you don't program into it. So just be smart with your smartphone and I don't see the problem. Personally I enjoy being able to go places and do things with my family and friends and still keep track of my articles on here and the like. But, whatever! 
Bill H. Added Jul 8, 2017 - 9:42pm
Jenifer - As long as your device is not controlling you, you are OK.
You seem to have a grip on reality, so I suspect you are still in control.
Do you really watch movies on your phone? For some reason, I can't imagine doing that. I need some screen size to do movies.
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 8, 2017 - 10:06pm
You might be surprised Bill how your sense of size perception adjusts after watching the small screen for a little while. And the fact that mine is a 2K screen doesn't hurt. Additionally when one uses the Occulus VR headset the screen is only a few inches from your eyes and appears huge. The 3D VR theater surrounding you adds to the effect and the movies are in full theater Real D 3D, simply amazing and a lot more affordable than buying a 3D TV.
 
But yes, we only have one TV, it's a really nice 44" smart TV. But if it's my husband's turn to watch something and I'm not exactly partial to it (like a Britney Spears concert) the additional screen with my Bluetooth headphones comes in really handy :-) 
JJ Montagnier Added Jul 9, 2017 - 10:36am
Jenifer asks:
"Also BTW, why does everyone here hate cell phones?"
 
One word answer: Privacy. 
Bill H. Added Jul 9, 2017 - 11:47am
Jenifer - I don't hate cellphones, I just hate the idiots that cause all of the traffic accidents while texting, yell into their phones at restaurants and other venues, force people to get out of their way as they almost collide with you while lost in screenville, spend their entire time at family events updating their FB page, call into a conference call with totally garbled and delayed audio causing everyone to repeat what they said, and always prioritize an incoming phone call or text over a "real" face to face conversation just to name a few.
At one time way in the past, there was a level of cell-phone etiquette that was quickly eliminated by efforts from the various carriers who were interesting in nothing more than increasing revenue when they were charging for "air time".
George N Romey Added Jul 9, 2017 - 12:19pm
I don't hate cellphones I hate the people that can't put them down to the point they are a danger to everyone else (like people talking/texting and driving).
 
Technology and social media itself is neutral, its neither good or bad.  Its the way in which its used.  The same would have and can be said of television.   People that spend all of their time in front of a computer screen are not living life in the same way people that sit in front of the television hour after hour.  Remember when it was called the "idiot box."   Some of social media now is the "idiot screen."
JJ Montagnier Added Jul 9, 2017 - 12:35pm
New Honesty - very good article - I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing.
Bill H. Added Jul 9, 2017 - 12:43pm
This was an interesting TV show about how programmers create applications designed to hook users and create more Phone Zombies.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-cant-we-put-down-our-smartphones-60-minutes/
JJ Montagnier Added Jul 9, 2017 - 12:53pm
Thanks for the article Bill. Here's a recent (very revealing) documentary dealing with the subject - this film shows all the reasons why I personally prefer not to expose myself to potentially becoming addicted: 
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/what-makes-you-click/
JJ Montagnier Added Jul 9, 2017 - 12:55pm
PS: click on subtitles. 
wsucram15 Added Jul 9, 2017 - 3:58pm
Jenifer..I have explained this on multiple posts, I have my reasons for not liking cell phones.
 
I like my privacy, its really simple.  To me, cell phones are just glorified tracking devices, if I leave my house and I dont want you to know where I am, thats my business.  What really pisses me off, is if someone goes through my phone... its  a privacy issue for me.
I dont like taking my cell phone and really never did then they started taking out pay phones because of drug dealers so my kids gave me no choice. But I still forget it all the time.
 
Look, some people are ok with all this " data " floating around about themselves, because they have nothing to hide, nor do I.  I never worried about it either, before.  But I have seen what happens to your "data" when someone wants it.  No thanks.  
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 9, 2017 - 4:15pm
As I said before, a smartphone only has the data that you give it. It can't magically aquire information about you that you don't provide it. If one is smart in their smartphone use there should be no problem. And if not, you only have yourself to blame, simple as that. 
 
As for the smartphone zombies, I'll be the first to say I can't stand them. I never engage in that kind of behavior. Real life is more important to me. A lot of people I know, including myself, are offended if you call us unless it's a special occasion or an emergency. Why don't you just send a text or email instead of insisting I stop what I'm doing in the real world to attend to you? I never use my phone at movies or when in a restaurant or dinner at home, it's rude. Only idiots pull out a smartphone at a concert or the like to record it. I mean why? The quality will be crappy and no one including the recorder will ever want to view that bootleg crap! And IMO the new low class look is walking around with a smartphone in hand with the screen always on. In a word, DUMB. Regarding location privacy you can turn location services off. And if you are planning to rob a bank or pull a terrorist act (first, why?) then, yea, leave the phone at home. But honestly unless you are pulling something devious and probably illegal who are you trying to hide from? 
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 9, 2017 - 4:22pm
And BTW the reason for the local services becides maps and the like is in case you lose your phone it can be found and recovered. I use Lookout Security which will find my phone remotely via GPS if lost. It also saves all the data on it then erases it all to prevent anyone getting my information if I send a signal to my lost device for that. Personally I'm glad to have this available, my device is top of the line, about $800 I would prefer to find it if lost. But if not no one will find out anything about me from my erased phone (which requires my fingerprint to unlock regardless). Not that I put secure information on my device to begin with. 
wsucram15 Added Jul 9, 2017 - 5:54pm
Ok Jenifer.  Like I said, I have had this argument before. I have seen smartphones taken apart, many times. I know their capabilities and what can be done with them just using an imsi device or now any portable devise sold to hack into a phone.
Its a phone, not a lifestyle.  I do appreciate some of the features and I understand how they work.  I just dont need it.
It is good you use your fingerprint though, tougher to get into, but I would not bet on not getting hacked, like I said, all you need is an imsi device and your camera can be used, your speakers and location.  There are a bunch of different ways to do it..new imsi's that operate over wifi which login to network w/o owner interaction.  So your security is useless.
They also have another way to wifi call which also overrides the security..."

 

 
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 9, 2017 - 6:06pm
Being that I'm not a celebrity or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company I highly doubt anyone would go to the ridiculous ends that you described to access my device. I'm not a ambassador or a intelligence operative or anyone else that would warrant anyone going to to those ends. For me and probably 99.9998% of the public security services like Lookout are all that is required. I'm not sure what kind of sensitive information you are privy to that would cause someone to go to such lengths (?) but services like Lookout and Apple security are secure enough that they kept the FBI from accessing terrorists phones with going to the manufacturer for support because their are simply no backdoors. Absolutely although the government has requested such Android and Apple still refuse to provide such access even to the NSA or other intelligence agencies. So yea, I'm pretty confident in my security. 
wsucram15 Added Jul 9, 2017 - 6:26pm
Jenifer..
you dont need to be rich or famous.  I know a guy that makes 60k a year (they didnt know that) who got taken for 225k.
Its not about what you have..its about what you COULD have.
The chances are slim but it is your option to take that risk.  To me, its just not worth the cost or my time and my phone was free. I would NEVER,  EVER pay for a cell phone.  My son and daughter wanted an iphone for Christmas and it almost killed me to buy each of them one.
Not in money..just thought it was stupid.
The FBI did get into the Apple phone, dont be so confident and they only used white and gray hats.  Look it up.  The 4 digit pin wasnt the problem, but after 10 tries the phone wipes all the data.  It took them longer to fight with Apple than crack the phone.
 
 
John G Added Jul 9, 2017 - 6:43pm
What makes you think you're not just as vulnerable using a computer hooked into the interwebs or a TV with cable or wireless? Or have a 'smart meter' on your outside wall?
New Honesty Added Jul 9, 2017 - 7:13pm
Hey everyone, I really enjoy this discussion here. Also thank you for your feedback I was off a couple of hourse and came back now.
To me privacy is also not that big of an issue. Do I have some photos I wouldn't want anyone to see on my phone? Yes. Do I worry too much about it? No. As John G stated I could also be hacked on my computer and that would be way worse.
I also HATE people constantly using phones in public, especially at bars and concerts. I don't mind people in busses or trains using their phones - I do that too - because on public transport you really don't do anything else than waiting. Might as well check my emails. 
I am rather concernced about what social media in combination does to us as a society. We're already living in a world where time is money, people are envious of other peoples' success and everyone gets judged for everything they do. I feel like social media and smart phones contribute to that.
The inventions smart phones/social media are genius I think. It is, as some of you stated, more about what people do with it. 
 
@ Bill H. At that time you probably wouldn't have expected everything to turn out this way...
wsucram15 Added Jul 9, 2017 - 9:11pm
John..not impossible to hack my laptop, just very difficult and I amke it that way.  Also its not mobile counting on a hotspot which is not encrypted and in a VPN.
People your data is worth money, personal or in a batch, each file is worth $X and if they can hack 100 ppl they have $XXX.   Thats why individuals are more of a practice or jump off point. 
 
NH..you asked preferences..this is mine, I have a legitimate reason for it and I sincerely hope it never happens to any of you.
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 9, 2017 - 9:35pm
FYI I never use hot spots, I have unlimited data, why would I? Also I use Lookout VPN at all times. 
John Minehan Added Jul 9, 2017 - 9:42pm
"One major point was that computers could provide tons of data that would allow humans to make better decisions. We never realized that humans would get to the point that they would allow computers to make their decisions for them."
 
But isn't that the stereo-typical fear based on Science Fiction (HAL in 2001, d.F. Jones's Colossus, etc.)? 
New Honesty Added Jul 10, 2017 - 6:41am
@wsucram15
While I really hope that I never get hacked (any more than my lack of security measurements lets me get hacked on a daily basis), it wouldn't be world's end if it did happen. I just wouldn't want anyone to make money off of my statistical data.
On a side note, did you know that in the US 'everyone' can buy statistical data from club cards, bonus programs, inventory lists, newspaper subscriptions, telephone directories, medical data and some social media sites? That's crazy to me. That is a law that allows for Big Data to be misused.
George N Romey Added Jul 10, 2017 - 10:15am
Big data will eventually be used to track our every move waiting for the least infraction.  Just think that if you went over the speed limit GPS tracking would immediately send that information to law enforcement for an immediate speeding ticket. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jul 10, 2017 - 11:24am
Being almost 60 gives one a tremendous advantage to see unsocial media as it is and value it accordingly. I hope my daughter of 14 understands my POV and advice before she makes some bad experiences. At least she is cautious about it and listens to me .... yet.
Bill H. Added Jul 10, 2017 - 11:33am
 
Actually, George - The "automatic ticket" idea had been discussed some years back and has been issued a patent as have quite a few other varieties of the system. Newer vehicles are actually being equipped with systems that will allow easy interface for automatic ticketing when the public becomes indoctrinated enough to allow these systems to be implemented (as we are now seeing with the utilization of drones with law enforcement). They will be GPS-based, along with backup information provided by all of the fixed and mobile camera systems that are becoming implemented.
As it now stands, GPS info from both phones and vehicle on-board systems (such as On-Star), and apps (such as WAZE) is collected by various agencies and supplied to their "affiliates" which can include law enforcement, insurance, and marketing corporations, which is stated in user agreements that are included with new vehicles and many various apps, many of which appear not to even use or require GPS info to perform their function. Of course, the majority of new vehicle buyers and smartphone users never read the details in their user agreements, or even read them at all.
The more we sit back and simply just let this happen, it will just get worse. Big Data is lulling us into submission simply by loading us up with "tech toys" that we can all brag about and play with. The "coolness" will not allow us to think about the negatives. Seduction at it's best!
New Honesty Added Jul 10, 2017 - 2:37pm
I'm also really wary about the possibility to hack into a car and control it from the outside. I read about this in a fictional story but it freaked out as it would be possible in real life..
Bill H. Added Jul 10, 2017 - 3:10pm
Car hacking will become a common threat. Similar RF techniques as used by credit card thieves to capture info from cards at a distance, capture FOB codes from a distance, open garage doors by streaming out codes (as is now being used by Police and Fire departments), and disabling/capturing drones (as is now being done by various state forestry officials) will be used and most likely commonly available on the internet.
Non DOD cipher/crypto technology seems to become compromised quite quickly these days. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jul 10, 2017 - 3:10pm
NH
 
You inspired me to my last article. Thanks.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 10, 2017 - 3:39pm
Bill H sez: The more we sit back and simply just let this happen, it will just get worse.-Yup.  Your comment gave me more reason to press forward with next article.  Folks should really pay attention to Net Neutrality issues, which will further complicate matters with real costs to users as a "quick way to implement 5G" BY FURTHER BANKROLLING PROVIDERS  who have just claimed a lot about implementing in the past, but need financial "help.".  INDUSTRY WANTS TO CONVINCE THE FCC losing the chance to squash net neutrality and open "cost of pipelines" to abuse....creep along or pay way up, will advantage provider brands content and goods. so it's all good, right?
New Honesty Added Jul 10, 2017 - 6:07pm
@ STF
Thanks so much, it's an honour!
 
@ Jeff +  Bill H.
There is good news though! Some companies are working on solutions for a 'new internet' which is decentralized, works with peer-to-peer networks and doesn't use servers. This would be a breakthrough concerning net neutrality and collection of Big Data. However, this plan is still in the making and probably will be for a long while. If you're interested, I'll post an article below. (or you can simply watch the latest season of 'Silicon Valley', a great comedy TV show.)
 
https://techcrunch.com/2014/07/23/maidsafe/
Leroy Added Jul 11, 2017 - 10:15am
Excellent article, NH, and thanks for sharing.  Good luck with your thesis!
Leroy Added Jul 11, 2017 - 10:24am
My wife is addicted to social media.  There is no doubt.  It's gotten so bad that she can't put it down at bedtime, so I sleep elsewhere.  She has this bizarre addiction for watching live streams of people eating, especially babies.  People live stream their fat little porkers eating massive amounts of food.  The bizarre part is the people who watch it.  And, she makes her own live streams.  She just starts a live stream and waits for people to ask her questions.  She can do this for two hours at a time.  She gets thousands of viewers and thousands of likes.  The likes drive her to do more.
 
 
Tom C. Purcell Added Jul 11, 2017 - 11:13am
Leroy, I'd keep a close watch on your wife if she gets interested in gambling!  ;)
Leroy Added Jul 11, 2017 - 11:44am
Oh, no.  I am in trouble, Tom!
 
She's ok as long as she never starts.  Once started, she becomes maniacal.  Her dad's a big gambler.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 11, 2017 - 4:42pm
Leroy states: She has this bizarre addiction for watching live streams of people eating, especially babies. - Isn't watching someone eat a baby slightly perverse?
New Honesty Added Jul 12, 2017 - 5:23pm
@ Leroy,
I hope you guys can pull through! I know that it can be very difficult to be with someone who is constantly on their phone. There are several things you can do so social media doesn't affect you as much. For example the thing with putting the phone on airplan mode before going to sleep. However, she would have to be willing to do that and I don't now if she is. You could ask her for small trips , e.g. to a restaurant without the phone. Maybe she sees 'real' life besides what's on her phone. But I really couldn't say.
 
Anyways, thanks a lot for the comment and feedback. So far, the thesis is going well. It's just a looooong project. 
Jenifer Frost Added Jul 12, 2017 - 6:14pm
I always put my phone on the wireless charger OUTSIDE the bedroom before sleep. Seems like a reasonable idea. 
George N Romey Added Jul 12, 2017 - 6:17pm
Leroy that becomes the allure of social media.  Suddenly you feel like a star because you are being noticed by so many.  Putting the phone down becomes very problematic.  This entire easy fame phenomenon is new to our society and changing the way in which interact, not always in a good way.
 
Its like people that are obsessed over the number of likes and friends on FB so they are always of course on FB.  
 
Now I'll admit I love longing onto WB to see if I've gotten good comments about my article.  In fact I probably spend too much time on this site.  But at least WB people are generally talking about subjects that are important.   
 
Maybe one day people will get bored of social media, the newness will be gone and something else will come along.  Hell we finally gave up our tvs for our Iphone.  
 
It reminds me that back in the late 70s and early 80s when Steve Jobs get talking about people using technology in their everyday lives most people thought he was off his rocker. No way people are going to turn off the television or stop socializing to sit home and peck on a key board (off course this was nearly 20 years pre Internet).   Now look at us.
 
To New Honesty you look fairly young (so I'm glad that you see the problem) so you were born before a time in which a man would never, ever be seen typing.  Now we've all become steno clerks.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 13, 2017 - 9:02pm
NH notes: net neutrality and collection of Big Data. However, this plan is still in the making and probably will be for a long while.-If providers are allowed "cheap pipes/expensive pipes" option in trade: Bad deal.  Ask about Verizon making promises in NEW jERSEY, AND SEE HOW THAT WORKED OUT: HINT: IT WORKED for Verizon, they didn't do anything and got "everything" at a state level. Perhaps brilliant, Steve Jobs was a dictator-late 70s and early 80s when Steve Jobs get talking about people using technology in their everyday lives most people thought he was off his rocker.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:36pm
GEO ROMEY TALKS ABOUT HIS BIG NEW JOB: Now we've all become steno clerks. - see? we knew a greeter a Wal - MARTYR was a big leap for you.  So people "listen to you" now on the job?  Why?