I have an essay up at the New Inquiry about shyness and social media. The basic argument is that social media helps shy people extract social capital from friendship but it doesn’t alleviate the allergies to human reciprocity that go along with being shy. Instead, social media naturalize the pathologies of shyness, generalizing them as more convenient than legacy modes of social interaction. What’s ultimately lost is the unmeasurable benefits of physical social presence and the intersubjectivity it facilitates, which I am coming to see as the only hope for escaping the insecurity that stems infinite reflexivity about our individual identity—a condition that only worsens if we try to combat it on its own terms (the more we try to define ourselves as isolate individuals, the more precarious that identity seems). It seems hopeless to strategize for social recognition rather than simply existing in the field it generates, yet that is precisely what social media tend to encourage with their “architectures of participation.” Anyway, I hope you will check it out—
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.