The Combined Determinism of Users of Social Media

As instructed, I observed the posts of my friends, family, and other collegues and searched for examples of any signs of either technological or social determinsim. However, the posts I found were not as personally oriented as I had anticipated. None of them were as simple and innocent as the example used by Professor Koller. Instead, they were all poltically opinionative posts about the recent Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump. Some were in favor of the new President, and some were not. Of course when I say all posts were political opinions I don’t mean literally, but because there was such a large saturation of such posts, I decided that is what I should base my analysis on.

I decided to use Facebook as my medium for social media surveillance, which may be why there were so many political posts in the first place seeing as how political articles, real and fake, have been spread like wildfire. I pondered for a moment at what these political posts would mean in terms of determinism. On one hand, the idea that somebody would post something that pertains to their own political opinion for the world to see may lead to one thinking that would be an example of social determinism. Social media users want all of their friends and family to know what they are thinking, or what they believe in, and then perhaps discuss the topic with them. This gives the feeling of a belonging and is one of the hierarchy of needs for a human being.

However, these posts can also be observed as perhaps technological determinism. The reason Facebook users an spread their own opinions across the Internet in the first place is because they have the ability to do so. In other words, social media could be controlling its own users simply by existing. The reason social media users can spread their opinions and ideas is, for lack of better words, because they can. That is why I believe the use of social media relies heavily on a combination of both technological and social determinism.