Ian Marcus Corbin at The New Atlantis:
It goes without saying — everyone knows it now, even if they can’t say why — that things like social media are bad for us, that many of us are clinically addicted to our phones, that life online brings out the worst in many, and probably in most of us. Twitter has damaged our national discourse, infecting it with a hair-triggered, toxic factionalism. The news is familiar enough — someone says something, Twitter erupts with outrage; details to follow. This is news. We treat all this with a knowing grimace, and write wry little tweets about how Twitter is toxic. We admire the founders of websites and apps that make us miserable, and if we are ambitious entrepreneurial types, aspire to be like them.
Fine, the zeitgeist moves at its glacial pace, until it decides it’s time to move quickly. Humans are weak and will sate their thirst with the nearest liquid, at least for a time. There is reason to think, though, that this digital world will die, or at least radically morph, as its ill effects come further into view. Technology, and especially social media use — this gigantic monument of our collective creation — will begin to be treated as a public health issue within a decade, I predict. The studies are piling up, no moral argument today is so dispositive.