SyntaxHighlighter

2012-07-24

In 1994, Albert Bandura (Social Cognitive Theory) Predicts Rise of Social Media

Recently I have been reading the book Theories on Personality (fifth edition, 1998), which is a rather comprehensive overview of various theories on the development of personality ranging from Freud's Psychoanalysis to Kelly's Psychology of Personal Constructs.

Each theory has its merits, from their own points of view, though my interests are more in the realms of how technology now and in the future will impact not only our own personalities, but overall how they can change and shape how we model the world around us and the world within.

Keep in mind that this edition is from 1998, long before most people were online.  At the end of the chapter for Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, there was the following paragraph:
Bandura recognizes the limitations that biological forces place on us, while at the same time, he believes that we have a remarkable plasticity.  Our social environments allow us a wide range of behaviors, including using other people as models.  All of us live in a number of social networks and are thus influenced by a variety of people.  Modern technology in the form of computers and the media facilitate the spread of social influences (Bandura, 1994b). [Italics added.]
Here we are 18 years later and these prescient views affect most of us not only on a daily basis, but on a minute by minute basis whether it is chatting via facebook, texting, or the pervasiveness of even being available all the time via a cell phone.

Even just hanging out with friends is vastly different.

More than a decade ago, before the term Social Networking came into common parlance, critics were waxing poetic about the old days before cell phones and how online communities would cause each of us to sit alone in our rooms staring at computer screens and not talking to people in person anymore.

Yet that did not happen.  When we hang out with friends it is not uncommon for us to be sitting around with phones, tablets, or notebooks in hand, checking through various posts, comments, or conversations online while we talk.  Most of the time these activities will add to our in-person conversations.

And when the conversation lulls with a pregnant pause, instead of the old school societal norm of bringing up the weather, we can all just sit in silence perusing our electronics.