“The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost” by Donna Freitas (ISBN 0190239859; 368p.; Goodreads) intrigued me with the title, and then the annotation too. I have not had the pleasure to read anything else by this author in the past, so this was a brand new dive for me in many senses. In short to those who will not read this till the end, and hopefully author too, if she ever comes across this: the book was well meant, but I disagree with the message, and the accidental slander. My disagreement is best expressed by Humble the Poet quote; I love chilling with people who make me forget I have a phone.
Author interviewed a great lot of young students, and gave us, what seemed, the radical extremes. They either take facebook as one-man performance play, a stand-up show where they must become the most “liked” star, or they no longer have social media, and therefor feel superior, to the rest of us, “slaves”. Which then leads me to another quote, by Marilyn Manson, where he spoke of drugs (which fits, because there was one person interviewed, who called facebook: chemical addiction; or something among those lines): there are users, and there are abusers. And, in my opinion, the preached here abstinence is not the solution, for I dearly doubt it is truly the problem.
Author goes on of how we can help young people by giving them the freedom they secretly crave: wi-fi free zones. Can’t stop fidgeting with your phone in class? Hm, why don’t we make a basket and put all our phones in there before class starts? Because why make class more interesting, right? And that’s my damn point. Most of these people in the book admitted they went on snapchat due to boredom. And I do that too when I’m bored. Engage me, and I’m all ears. So, engage your students, and they won’t have the time or will to go check what’s good on twitter. You’ll be what’s good, and it’ll be enough.
So to make it short, if you want to know how far people go for likes, favs, follows, and so on: this is the book you might want to read. And I say “might”, because it’s hard to read through very odd speaking manner, peppered with “like, you know”, and “I don’t know, it’s like”. But other than that, this was rough. Social media is not whole internet. We have whole world, wast libraries at our fingertips. If you really think that pulling the cable out of the back of your pc will solve your kid’s need for video games, you are mistaken. We live in age where we are finally accepting the fact, that one kid has different ways of learning from the other. This book is a great example of how hard it might be to sit down and read a book. But then I have those I couldn’t put down at 4am. And yet you’d have me what? Put my phone in the basket so it’s easier to read dry text? Improve the content, how it is passed along, and not the room it will be presented in. 2 out of 5, mostly because author was well-meaning, and kind.