Dating Den Episode 251 – With Drs. Susan Matt & Luke Fernandez: What Social Media and Technology Might Be Doing to Undermine Your Love Life
Marni welcomes the Authors of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings About Technology from Telegraph to Twitter, Dr. Susan Matt, and Luke Fernandez into the Den. Luke is an Assistant Professor at Weber State School of Computing and Susan is a Professor of History at Weber State. Both have been published in the Washington Post.
Key takeaways from this episode:
- Emotions are created by culture
- Effects of technology on expectations
- Reframing ideas and feelings
- Enjoying solitude versus fear of loneliness
How Technology is Changing People [2:08]
Our personalities and emotions are changing due to social media. Past generations didn’t quantify their worth with how many friends they had. They didn’t get bored as easily because no one was pressuring them to use their time. Susan points out the word boredom didn’t exist until the 19th century.
Luke encourages us to think of emotions and feelings as not just biological but as things that are shaped by the world around us. By technologies and language.
Technology companies lead us to believe that happiness is being connected all the time.
Unrealistic Expectations [15:39]
There is an entire ‘loneliness’ industry that touts the message that we need more friends. As advertisements began to saturate through new media outlets, people started believing the hype.
We may be more connected than our ancestors but the amount of loneliness we are prone to is the same.
Luke reminds us that in the past people would admit to being lonely and join loneliness clubs. In the current environment, many people feel shame due to not having the ‘right’ amount of friends or FOMO. But, it is all based on conditioning and language. Enjoying solitude connotes something different than suffering loneliness.
How Did the Pandemic Change Us? [25:36]
During the pandemic, technology was extremely useful in keeping us connected with our loved ones and offered us a sense of community even though we were restricted to our homes. Luke is optimistic about how technology can help us in these ways and says it shouldn’t be vilified.
Change How We React [33:12]
Luke and Susan didn’t intend for their book to be a self-help guide. But, Luke says just being aware of how we use technology and how we react to our feelings can shift our perspectives and remove the stigma of loneliness. Ultimately, it is up to us and the language we use with ourselves.
Emotions are not set in stone. We can change the way we feel about something.
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Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter