After reading this article, Jonathan Franzen has made many claims about the issues with the modern world. He claims that the new modern world is replacing many things that people value like real books, authors, and bookstores. He is upset that these things are being replaced with new technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon, because he believes them to be important to the world. He believes that social media is going to cause the world to go into an apocalypse because he doesn’t agree with the new social media that is arising and becoming popular; he believes that the new technology is becoming too popular and causing many people to change who they are.
Franzen believes that as a nation we are becoming less smart because of the new technology and social media that is becoming more popular as the days go on. In the article he states, “It’s hard to get through a meal with friends without somebody reaching for an iPhone to retrieve the kind of fact it used to be the brain’s responsibility to remember”(What’s wrong with modern world, Franzen). This means that he believes that new technology is causing us to get lazy and not remember things that we normally would if we didn’t have so many different types of media that helps us get answers quickly. This relates to social media because nowadays you don’t even have to remember a friend or family member’s birthday; Facebook sends you a reminder so you cannot forget even if you wanted to.
Franzen also discusses how we are being used because social sites make money off of us. It states, “… we can’t even agree on how to keep healthcare costs from devouring the GNP. What we can all agree to do instead is to deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies to Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerburg, and Jeff Bezos, and to let them profit at our expense” (What’s wrong with modern world, Franzen). This is saying that we don’t worry much about things that are important anymore because we are too busy helping big corporations make money off of us. Also this relates to social media because there are a lot of people on social media sites and we don’t even pay attention to the fact that we are helping them make money. We don’t realize that by constantly on Facebook or Twitter, we are helping them make money.
Franzen also discuss the fact that social media is replacing things that have been around for a while. In his essay, he states, “But so the physical book goes on the endangered species list, so responsible book reviewers go extinct, so independent bookstores disappear, so literary novelists are conscripted into Jennifer-Weinerish self promotion, so the Big Six Publisher get killed and devoured by Amazon: this looks like an apocalypse only if most of your friends are writers, editors, or booksellers” (What’s wrong with modern world, Franzen). This is saying that social media will get rid of these jobs because you can now read digital books. You can now read book reviews on websites. You can now buy your books online. You no longer have to go to a physical bookstore because everything is done online now.
I agree with Franzen to some extent but I think that he goes a little bit too far with his ideas. I believe that some of his ideas are a bit far-reached. I agree with his claim that social media is making us less smart. According to an article titled, “What Facebook Users Share: Lower Grades”, college students who have a Facebook account have a lower GPA than non-users. It states, “…GPAs of Facebook users typically ranged a full grade point lower than those of nonusers—3.0 to 3.5 for users versus 3.5 to 4.0 for their non-networkers peers” (What Facebook Users Share: Lower Grades). This study shows that there is a link between Facebook usage and intelligence. According to another article titled, “Twitter at 7: Smart or stupid, we are what we tweet”, people get into trouble because they do things that are not intelligent things to do. It states,“Comedian Gilbert Gottfried was the voice of the Aflac duck in commercials until he joked about the Japanese tsunami on Twitter (“Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.”)”. After he posted this he lost his job because this was something that wasn’t very smart of him to do and it was disrespectful.
Franzen, Johnathan. “Jonathan Franzen: What’s Wrong with the Modern World.” The Guardian. The Guardian, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/13/jonathan-franzen-wrong-modern-world>.
Hamilton, Anita. “What Facebook Users Share: Lower Grades.” TIME.com. TIME, 14 Apr. 2009. Web. 17 Sept. 2013. <http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1891111,00.html>.
Hampton, Rick. “Twitter at 7: Smart or Stupid, We Are What We Tweet.” USA Today. Gannett, 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/19/age-old-bad-judgment-lives-long-in-digital-age/2001557/>.