Technology and How It Affects Society

Source #3 Citation: Newport, Cal. “Quit Social Media.” TedX Talks. Online video. 10 Jul 2016. Web. Accessed 28 Jun. 2018. URL:

What lense(s) does the author view this issue through? (cultural/social, environmental, scientific, economic, political/historical, artistic/philosophical, futuristic, ethical). How do you know?

The speaker views this issue through primarily a cultural / social lense, but also, and secondarily, through an ethical lense. He describes how in today’s society not using social media can be considered highly controversial and that social media is in fact considered essential to our daily existence.

He tells the listener that social media is promoted as a highly valuable tool, a boon to one’s intelligence, vital to our economy and even necessary to sustain a meaningful life. The speaker then heavily rebuts these ideas, claiming them to be nothing short of ludicrous.

Looking through an ethical lense, he also illustrates that technology, especially social media, is clearly powerfully addictive and reduces people into mindless, lazy, empty-headed beings, most of the time acting without cogent reason or purpose.

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He asserts that people become less focused on finding productive activities or valuable pastimes when spending time on social media; rather, they robotically press a keyboard looking for people to chat with, silly narratives to read or places to generate a steady stream of witty anecdotes, most of the time with or to people we don’t even know, just to afterward congratulate ourselves on our clever repertoire.

The saddest part is there is often no one physically there to witness our self-gratification.

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Our speaker alleges we are only creating extreme isolation, loneliness and providing little to no tangible benefit to our lives.

2. What is the author’s main argument? (subject + perspective). How do you know?

The speaker asserts that we need to completely quit using social media, because it is changing the way we are wired and is consuming huge chunks of our lives, day after day after day. If used too much, and our speaker alleges that a majority of people under 38 years of age are consumed with the internet or social media more than 90 percent of the day, it changes how our brains are stimulated with limited reward for that consumption.

He proposes that if you were to go to a casino and you were to spend two or three hours at a slot machine, pulling the lever the entire time, that would be a mindless activity but not enough to permanently change how your brain works.

However, if you were to bring that slot machine home with you and were to pull that handle all day long, from the moment you wake to the time you go to bed each night, you could not be unwired or your brain detached from the activity. You would dream about it. It would short-circuit your brain and have significant cognitive consequences. The same, our speaker alleges, can be said about our pervasive use of social media and technology, in general.

3.What specific reasoning does the author use to support this argument? Is it logical?

Our author / speaker states that we should feel justified in using the internet, social media or a network tool, if we can identify any possible benefit to doing so, or anything we would tangibly miss out on by not using it. This should be our litmus test in each instance, he claims.

In other words, some might think it makes sense to use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook because it helps our small business start-up by acquiring new contacts, or it might help us network with other business executives or improve career possibilities.

One might allege that these social media outlets help us keep in touch with people, advertise our business, and/or even network with executives about career advancement possibilities. However, our speaker states that these same social media tools can also be a huge distraction from taking care of our business duties, job or education obligations, physically networking, doing research, or other work we ought to be doing, which would yield far greater benefits.

Our author claims that if we weigh the pros against the cons, it makes sense to completely eliminate social media from our lives, even though it can certainly be said that provides some benefit. He asks us to apply a “craftsman’s approach” to what we allow into our lives.

He instructs us to:

  • 1) identify our goals for success and joy in our lives;
  • 2) pinpoint the key factors that will determine success and provide true happiness, as defined by our goals;
  • 3) assess every tool we will adopt for use in our lives to achieve those goals; and
  • 4) utilize a tool or method only if its positive impacts substantially outweigh the negative impacts.

4.What is the quality of the evidence provided? (unbiased, credible, connected to claims, recent publication).

The author provided a highly credible argument, directly connected to research he has done, publications he has authored and read, and due to discussions with thousands of people.

He acknowledges that he likely won’t convince all people to believe as he does nor that every solution is the best for every person. In other words, he accepts that nothing is a one size fits all proposition.

He asserts that there is a general rule that you might convert 1-2% of your audience through one discussion or an initial introduction to the argument at hand. He believes that he must demonstrate, through putting his theory into practice, by employing what he preaches, and then by showing the impact it has had on his life.

Then he can, with trustworthiness and believability, ask others to do the same. He believes and asserts that, once others try these ideas, more will be converted to his way of thinking.

I admire this author and how he presented his argument. He is not just preaching it, he is living it, and he is proof that it can work. That is the most compelling source of evidence he provides. This author has written books on this topic, not just presented to audiences of thousands.

His primary argument and pleading of his audience is this: if people feel like they are becoming addicted to the internet or social media, or if they feel like they are stalling in their career or doing poorly in their educational pursuits, it is worth considering whether the tools they are using in their lives are helping or hindering their ability to be the very best they can be.

He implores his listeners and readers to consider more beneficial strategies and to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, their time on social media.

5.How strong would you judge this overall argument to be, especially in comparison to the others?

The argument proffered by this author against the extensive use of technology and, in particular, social media, was logical, persuasive and very well conveyed. He does not try to convince us that social media is malevolent or that it will do untold damage to our lives.

He is rational and lays out the hypothesis, to all ages, races and genders, that we should carefully assess our life’s desires, goals and ambitions, and then practically analyze what tools we should use for communication, learning, socializing and career advancement, in order to make those dreams a reality.

He postulates that social media, as a whole, is an inhibitor, not an enhancement in our lives. He does contend that social media is addictive, and any use should be restricted or vigilantly measured. I concur that we must avoid allowing social media have an appetite unto itself.

In conclusion, I would assert that this author, when compared to the other sources analyzed, presented the strongest argument on the issue of technology’s impact on society. His sources were credible. He presented his case to all people, no matter age, race, income, gender or creed. He is living his own preach and brought personal life experiences to his presentation of facts.

He acknowledged that his proposition will not be a pill all can swallow and suggests that, for those who are in opposition to his thinking, they might at least consider reducing their consumption of technology and social media outlets for a period of time, in an effort to assess the benefits of the temporary cutback.

His proposal was intelligent, reasonable, well-formulated and adeptly communicated. He took what at first sounded like a very bizarre and drastic proposition and made a convincing argument for its reasonability. He compelled many in his audience to take immediate action and to adopt the notion into their own daily lives. This author gets my vote for best case presented. Well done, Mr. Newport!

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Technology and How It Affects Society. (2019, Dec 19). Retrieved from

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