Interconnectedness

Human Agency

Human Agency / Personal Agency / Socio-Structural Components & Nature

 

Our UNIVERSE IS IMMENSE and full of mystery and I find Nature a source of inspiration and a place where I can research the beauty and chaos of Life. As Life is built upon opposites, for example, light/dark, cold/hot, create/destroy. I believe we are all Unique Individuals that can self-regulate, to adapt to our life styles and mechanisms, that allow us to freely flow and grow as unique individuals through observation and modeling. I believe everyone adds to our collective consciousness because we all derive from star dust, we can add our part to humanity and our immense Universe. For a while this thought has been the nucleus of my life, as what is it that forms my sense of personal gratification and I have deduced it is based on the questions we all embrace. The challenges of work, love and communal life that continually confront us, challenging us and compelling us to reach for the Stars. As a Master of Life once said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of stardust (Carl Sagan,1980, Cosmos).”

PERSONAL UTOPIA, Oneness

To date we are living in a Taoist cyber-based society, an interconnected oneness. This catalyst is what brought to mind, how is it we can remain human? Creating a society built upon this cyber-based communication, that is virtual and often without direct human contact and the velocity of exchange of information. As in the Documentary film, “We Are Public,” Josh Harris illuminates the very many principals and socio-structural influences that can form and can influence the interaction of a socio-structural community and how it can be efficient, creative, full of growth but it then can become a basis for human destruction, again how opposites influence Life… In reflection, our living earth, the Nature of our Universe creates and destroys, birth and death are all components of our Universe and affect each one of us. Could we be preserved by the ailments of contemporary society, our interconnectedness through cyber-space, our community? This transport through space and time allows us to maintain contact throughout the world instantaneously. Does that create a bridge for growth or harm?

Human beings are multifaceted,

Their need of freedom,

Their call from Nature,

The pain and pleasure it bestows,

The dream to obtain perfection,

In space and time,

A union, a Oneness, to grow.

Harmony,

Music to form,

The shape,

Of Oneness.

The enigmatic Universe,

Relates itself to Man,

How vast but how small

We are Oneness with all.

 

Keywords:  Interconnectedness, Carl Sagan, Josh Harris, Albert Bandura, Nature, Human Agency

 

Works Cited

Bandura, A. (1982). The psychology of chance encounters and life paths. American Psychologist, 37 ,

747–755.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory . Englewood

Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. (1990). Mechanisms of moral disengagement. In W. Reich (Ed.), Origins of terrorism:

Psychologies, ideologies, theologies, states of mind  (pp. 161–191). Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Bandura, A. (1991a). Self-regulation of motivation through anticipatory and self-reactive mechanisms.

Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational

Psychologist, 28 , 117–148.

Bandura, A. (1994). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.),

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control . New York: Freeman.

Bandura, A. (1998). Exploration of fortuitous determinants of life paths. Psychological Inquiry, 9 , 95–

99.

Bandura, A. (in press). Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities. Personality and

Social Psychology Review . (Special Issue on Evil).

Sagan, C. (1980). Cosmos. New York. Random House.

 

 

 

 

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SE in a World of Lacking Knowledge

The definition of self-efficacy according to Bandura, simply put, is the belief a person has in their ability to execute behaviors that are necessary to produce certain performance attainments. As I was reading the class information and trying to link it to a current situation or world circumstance, poverty and lack of educational motivation popped into my head.  The material was difficult for me to read.  I am ashamed to admit that fact.  It took me much more time to research the words that I was unfamiliar with only to say to myself after looking them up, “well why didn’t you just say that.”  I am familiar with the concept of self-efficacy.  It is about believing in oneself.  As I read, researched words I was not familiar with, and struggled to find a purpose for the words, I thought to myself of the life of someone living in poverty and their struggle to achieve educationally.

There were many times reading the information that I thought about dropping the course, self-doubting my abilities to complete a master’s degree at this age. I considered the fact that those of you, many of whom are much younger than I, did not seem to struggle with the content.  I contemplated that many of you most likely felt at home using twitter, blogging, creating webpages, etc.  As I struggled, I remembered the children I worked with at my previous place of employment, all of whom were living in poverty and three quarters were struggling in school.  My mind then moved to their parents, who were the children before them.  Generations of families all just trying to stay alive in a concrete jungle of a city and not caring about their “agentic” reality.

Self-efficacy is not necessarily just about an internal control mechanism. A person’s environment, culture, genetics, and experiences all play a role in the successful ability to self-motivate.  Going back to my friends in poverty, let us consider this scenario.  Jake is 15.  He is failing school.  He spends more time in out of school suspension than he does sitting in a classroom.  He is one of six children and lives in a blighted neighborhood that has the second highest crime rate in the City of Erie.  His father is a drug dealer.  Neither his mother nor father graduated from high school.  His older brother is in prison for selling drugs.  His family is well known by the school system and often times he hears references such as “oh you are part of the Smith family.”  Jakes family pressures him to become a part of the family business.  He does not feel that he is smart enough in school.  He does not feel he will succeed.  He eventually quits school and enters the family business.  At 17 he joins his older brother in jail.

Jake felt as if he had a lower level of intelligence than his peers and everyone in his environment actually supported this. Jake actually when tested in prison as part of the educational programming ended up testing as gifted.  If we can learn how to harness the power of teaching self-efficacy, perhaps Jake’s story could be re-written.

Jake’s story reminded me a bit of Josh and his video. I think it would be more interesting to tape the life of real people in their natural environments, not all aspects of it, to see if there is a way we could identify ways to help people like Jake.  I am not sure either situation is something I feel we should be doing.  I am not a fan of reality television.  I actually do not have a television at all.  The best part of Josh’s story, was the beginning and the end to me.  He contributed initially to great advances in technology in the beginning of his careers and in the end, ended up giving back to the people of a nation where he escaped.  I did throughout the movie feel that Josh could have benefited from some therapy and that his life, like Jake, contained some prescriptions from his early experiences, which of course fits in with the social cognitive theories.

Those of you reading this, I do have a challenge for you. These technology lessons will increase my self-efficacy.  I think for those of you who are already familiar with the technologies we are using and discussion should perhaps experience the technology of my generation.  Take a little walk back in time to my first college experience.  I challenge to type a three-page paper on an electric typewriter without a correction tape.  While you do this, I will learn your twitter, blogging and any other form of social media and communication that has occurred since this typing.   Best to all and of course, Peace in your world!

Social Media. Do We Let This Determine Our Self – Perception?

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When referencing Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and relating it back to my personal and professional life, it is essential that self-efficacy is also incorporated into the discussion.  Much of how we view ourselves and our own personal abilities can determine whether we will have success in a specific field, business endeavor, and life-event.  Bandura breaks down SCT in a way that is relate-able to most everyone.  Personally, this theory helped me to better categorize myself and identify what particular life-events and environments helped to shape the person that I am today.   So much of what we do on a day to day basis is shaped off of what environments we have been apart of, what accomplishments we see our friends and family members achieving, and how we view ourselves. Ironically, much of what makes up our own self-efficacy is based off of our comparison to others and their specific lifestyles.

In terms of self efficacy, I believe I’m somewhere in the middle.  Throughout my life I’ve struggled with feelings not being good enough which ultimately led to an overall low self esteem.  Growing up, my family was very stern in terms of work. While this could most definitely be perceived as a family strength, it contributed to what I would call a product oriented personality type.  For example, my parents would give me praise for staying extremely busy,  achieving good grades, and making financial progress.  While these all sound like good things, it instilled in me the idea that the only times I was doing ‘good’ in life was when I was achieving something.

In a society that is now encompassed in a sea of social media, milestones and achievements are being broadcast continuously.  A couple gets engaged, someone lands a new job, a mother posts that she potty trained her toddler in just two short months.  While these platforms provide good models in terms of SCT, they can also be extremely disheartening if you are trying to perform the same actions to achieve the same goal with little to no success. Recently, I accepted a job at a marketing firm that I thought would most definitely produce a lucrative career in the future.  I was already enrolled in the MACS program, and despite having a lower sense of self-efficacy, decided to take this job because of what I saw others achieving on social media.  I kept thinking “Why would you not take this “big girl” job?  You’re still in school and this is a great opportunity to do something in the marketing field!” Additionally, I had a lot of support from my boyfriend and my family to take the job since it was correlated to what I was going to school for, fit my schedule, and provided adequate pay.  Throughout the interviewing process all I could think of was: “I hope I get this job.  It would be a dream come true to take a job like this and finally feel like I am one step further into adulthood and providing for my son.”  I didn’t much consideration into what I would actually be doing at the job. I just wanted it and was willing to work extremely hard no matter the circumstances.

After spending six months in the position it became extremely apparent to me that the job was not a good fit. It was nothing personal towards the company, but the lack of enthusiasm I had towards going to work everyday was weighing on me to an extreme length. While I put forth my absolute best effort, I eventually chose to look elsewhere for work. To me, this entire experience was a great example of how a particular situation that seemed to play out well for other individuals did not necessarily line up the same way for me.  While social media was not the sole reason why I chose to take the job, it most definitely had a significant effect on my decision.  The ability to continuously be updated on other people’s lives is what ultimately made me feel obligated to take the job in the end.  

This same example can be carried into Josh Harris’ documentary “Living in Public.”  Here, we see people’s fascination with being constantly watched by others.  One of his main arguments was that people want more than just 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime.  He believed that people wanted 15 minutes every day.  As time goes on, our world gets more and more obsessed with people and their daily activities.  Facebook live is a great example of the accessibility we now have to post just about anything we want and instantly have it viewed by thousands of people. We start letting likes, comments, and followers determine our self efficacy level instead of a close set of individuals and our morals.  The question now is when. When will it be okay to quite literally post anything on social media without any barriers (you can still report photos and inappropriate content)? Do you think as a society we will be able to one day say no to more in terms of social media?  

 

-Abby Franc

Social Self

Social cognitive theory claims that humans are agentic beings.  People function, develop and adapt to their environments.  Individuals are active in their life course; they are not just merely automatic beings.  Social cognitive theory follows three modes of agency; direct personal agency, proxy agency, and collective agency (Bandura, 2002).  In personal agency people impact themselves and their surrounding environments.  At times people rely on others to help them achieve desired outcomes so they turn to other people to help represent them through proxy agency.  These helpers could be people who have more power or influence that can positively affect the situation.  Mutually working within groups to obtain greater knowledge and skills falls under collective agency.  This can allow people to achieve more than they could on their own.

Development is depended on many attributes of one’s self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy influences how people think, feel, and act.  If a high self-efficacy is present people are motivated to set goals and obtain them.  They are able to deal with failures in a productive way and have strong control over their lives.  Low self-efficacy establishes low ambitions and follow-through.  People with low self-efficacy are afraid of failure and cannot handle it well when it does happen.  They tend to have low self-esteem and are susceptible to depression.

In many ways people are a creation of the environment that they grow up in.  Self-efficacy begins as an infant.  Infants are able to learn that actions produce effects.  Once children reach school age peers are very influential in affecting others self-efficacy.  Peers can be a positive influence and encourage each other to strive for high goals or a negative influence that makes others feel socially insufficient and withdraw from being socially outgoing.

Promoting self-efficacy in others is a huge part of my career.  As a teacher I help students develop their academic efficacy.  It is important that I have a high self-efficacy in order to positively influence and motivate my students to do the same.  When children feel successful their academic goals increase which can lead to a brighter future with greater career opportunities.

While reading Bandura’s Self-Efficacy (1994) I realized some methods that I am using in my classroom that may be lowering some student’s self-efficacy.  Ability grouping is one practice that my school uses to place students in my math classes.  I have three groups of seventh grade math that I teach every school day.  Two are regular math 7 and one is advanced math.  Students were placed according to placement tests that they took at the end of sixth grade.  A few students barely missed the cutoff and were placed in the regular math 7 classes.  The placement of these students into a lower class may have been damaging to their self-efficacy.  Last year they felt more knowledgeable than many other students in their class which made them believe that they could reach higher goals.  With the blow to their self-efficacy of being placed in a regular math class fostered these students to take on the characteristics of their fellow classmates.  They appear to not try as hard on their assignments and tests often scoring in the middle of their peers.  On more than one occasion I have heard students saying they are in the “dumb class”.  On the other hand the students that made it into the advanced math class have really boosted their self-efficacy.  They appear to try harder than other students on tests and I rarely ever have any of them not complete homework.  A few of them have even talked to me about careers in the mathematics and science fields.

As Josh Harris predicted in “We Live in Public”, the internet has invaded and become a prevalent part of people’s lives.  His predictions of cameras mounted everywhere has yet to come true, however, the advances with cell phones has manifested the essence of his experiments.  The immediacy at which individuals can capture images and videos and then share them globally has altered the structure of society.  The dynamics of interaction with friends, families, and strangers has been altered by these trends.

The ability to share and connect is a wonderful one, when appropriately utilized.  The other side of this technology can allow for distasteful or plain cruel behavior.  Recently Dani Mathers, a Playboy model utilized her cell phone and Snapchat account to publicly expose and shame an unknowing woman who was changing in a gym locker room.  An even more heinous act, was committed at the start of 2017 when four individuals abducted and tortured and individual with mental disabilities.  Their acts were broadcasted live through Facebook for anyone who wished to view the crime as it was being committed.

As our society adapts to current technological advances, what role will they play?  Is this connection with each other through the internet truly the next stage of human society or the corrosion of it?

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998)

Bandura, A. (2002). Social Cognitive Theory in Cultural Context. (pp.269-290) Oxford: Blackwell .

Society vs. Self-Efficacy: The Box Theory

Okay, so the first disclaimer is that I’m not a psychologist, but naming my opinion on how Society limits our view of Self-Efficacy in relation to Social Cognitive Theory “The Box Theory” makes me feel pretty great. This is definitely a thought piece on the relationship between our environment set by pop culture, the US Government, the current political climate, etc. and our ability to recognize our potential and strive for greater heights.

 

Let’s start with the basics. As an African-American male, I’ve been taught growing up that no matter what happens to me, where I come from, who tries to bring me down, I always have to be better than my environment to improve my environment. As an individual, I observed the actions of my parents: I watched my mom hold my family together and strive towards higher levels of education to increase her ability to provide for her family and in turn herself. I watched my father make many mistakes and completely turn his life around to become reliable and a provider for our family, while following the example of my mother, achieve higher education, and level up in his profession. This was the behavior I observed, imitated, and are currently in the process of executing.

 

I am not ashamed to be labeled a millennial but I am a huge advocate for labels no being the equivalent to stereotypes. I view the term “millennial” as a classification, not necessarily as a way of life.  I am more apt to technology than most, I text quickly, I use google for everything, but none of these things hinder my growth as  a human being or limit my ability to grow beyond what the media has tried to limit me to. There you have it. I said it. I believe today’s society tries to limit our Self-Efficacy to fit the labels they’ve created. This is my box theory.

 

As I continue, I understand that this is starting to feel a little conspiracy-theory-ish, but stick with me. Social Cognitive Theory informs us that human behavior is learned and can be changed through cognitive observation, empowered models, beneficial environments, etc. Well in today’s society, our models are starting to evolve into similar people. Our celebrities and politicians, once very separate fields, have merged. Our environment is evolving, and the dreams we are being sold are evolving too. Labels are becoming more relevant than ever and are starting to seriously limit the mind’s scope of what we as individuals can and cannot do. In other words, Self-Efficacy is there but is still limited to our labels. Society is putting us in boxes, and telling us to dream inside of them.

 

Sticking with my own experiences, representation in popular culture, media, politics, government occupations, etc. is very important to me. As an African American Male, I want to be able to see myself in movies, but also be able to see myself running the country. It was important to have models like Barack Obama flourish and never falter to society’s negativity, while also seeing the likes of Mahershala Ali, Jordan Peele, Drake, etc. take the media by storm, succeeding in their perspective areas. While black people have been fighting the good fight of representation for a very long time, we are still fighting, alongside latinos, asians, the LGBT community, women, and so many others. My issue lies in the fact that I now see a trend that media is limiting the popularization of certain models in certain areas that allow us to dream, but only in a certain direction/lane, thus emphasizing a box we’re to stay in.

 

I believe an even smaller box is being enforced on younger generations. Even if the representation is there, my generation, and the generations that follow see these things, begin to work for them, and then get stuck in a vicious cycle surrounding money. We see people drop everything to succeed but are faced with the reality that without money, there’s no way you’ll make it. So we work and go after occupations that we have to struggle in before we can rise and make the big bucks, but society sells us the dream big, go big, risk everything, and succeed model. Still confused? Let me break it down for you.

 

I went to a Creative and Performing Arts middle and high school. They were public schools with arts magnet programs, allowing students to have regular academics coupled with rigorous studies in an art form of their choosing. I studied musical theater in middle school and vocal/voice in high school. I’ve always dreamed of making it big, whether that be on a big stage selling out concerts, or on broadway, selling out shows. The school advocated for self-efficacy. We practiced day and night, went to audition after audition, built repertoires that spanned from german to latin to italian to spanish to hebrew, and we believed in ourselves and each other. When I left my Pittsburgh CAPA, I was told by so many people in “Real-World Jobs” that my dreams just weren’t realistic. My environment shifted and I tried to become a lawyer. That was a failed dream (although now I feel like I’m going after a real world occupations I love.) We as a society have brilliant artists all over the world, but we are limiting our future by forcing younger generations to conform and aim their hardwork and dedication, their self-efficacy in a direction.

 

After typing this, I thought to myself, “can the box be broken?” The answer is an obvious yes. People do it every day. Ashton Sanders, 21 dropped out of school to film an independent movie and that movie went on to win an Oscar for best picture while his costar, Jharrel Jerome, was only 17 at the beginning of filming. But these instances are becoming more rare, because, also, as a society we are putting way too much emphasis on money. If we continue to go down this road, Money will become the biggest influencer on our cognitive ability to believe we are able to succeed. Many would argue we are already too far gone. I believe that there is still a possibility to end this cycle, and that a generation will stand up for dreams and hard-work coexisting hand in hand.

 

SCT and Self-efficacy realized

My readings on SCT and Self-efficacy have allowed me to examine and gain understanding of my role regarding my career path through introspection.  I’ve worked for the same organization for over the past 20 years, and at different points in time, I’ve contemplated a career change.  However, I struggled with the idea and was very comfortable.  Throughout my time with my employer, I believed that I was fortunate to have opportunities for ‘promotions’, and I felt highly respected by my colleagues and superiors.  The organization recognized my potential and was a persuasive agent that made me feel valued through various forms of praise and recognition.

I was young and made mistakes.  On one occasion, while working in a highly respected county school, administrators approached me with an offer to join the faculty.  I enrolled in a teacher certification program and was doing very well.  Although I never imagined being a teacher or believed I had the ability, I had the support of administrators and faculty, so I was very confident in my ability to earn my certification and teach.  Once I informed my organization of this opportunity, I was immediately ‘promoted’ and relocated to a city program.  I did not have the maturity or experience to selfishly make decisions based solely on my future.  My loyalty to my company was unrealistic and naive.

It was difficult to manage school along with the new barriers (i.e., learning new responsibilities, distance and transportation, and the influence of new relationships and experiences).  I eventually chose to leave my certification program to focus working my way up through my organization while doing a very meaningful and rewarding job.  Promotions came at a steady rate, but in retrospect, they were often lateral moves.  I had one peer who encouraged me to return to school constantly, but my fear of accumulating more student loan debt was more powerful in influencing my decision.

As I look back, I notice that I had feelings of low self-efficacy.  Anytime that I attempted to set a goal for myself, I was successful at talking myself out of trying (i.e., “I can’t go to school, because I’m already up to my neck in student loans,” “I’m making more money than most people in my position,” or “I’m next in line once he retires next year.”).  My organization, as it should have been, was more invested in its future than mine.  Overall, the idea to advance was there, and I felt that I had the ability to perform at a higher level or attain an advanced degree, but the desire and determination were not there.  I neglected to initiate a plan until a couple of summers ago.

A confluence of influences led me to the path of returning to school.  Marriage and becoming a parent were major motivators that influenced my decision to apply for several administrative positions over a two-year period.  I thought my work-experience would make me an ideal candidate for each job that I applied for, but the bottom-line was that employers wanted a person with at least a Master’s Degree.  Also, a very close friend and former colleague had recently earned his Master’s Degree and immediately attained the type of position I was seeking within a respected organization just as I had attempted to do with my Bachelor’s degree.  He informed me that his employers were ecstatic that he had a Master’s degree, because all other applicants had Bachelor degrees.

I was temporarily discouraged, but last summer, with more urging from my wife and our families, I returned to school with the goal of earning an advanced degree before applying for anymore new positions.  Although my wife continues to urge me to apply for other jobs, I set my goal of earning this degree first, and I will not stray off course.  Two years ago, I would have possibly created unneeded stress by attempting to please her.  However, my thinking has been more about the ‘long-haul’ and persevering.

Focusing on my education has sparked a new confidence and desire to learn and advance in life.  Thus far, school and interaction with classmates (older and younger) have confirmed my belief that technology is expanding the world at a very fast rate, so to advance, I must be willing to accept and flow with these changes.  Josh Harris’ experiment, as stated several times during the documentary, was well ahead of its time.  His belief that the internet would majorly influence daily life is a reality.  Bandura’s work on SCT and self-efficacy has indicated that the internet continues to develop from being a general influence on society by becoming more individualized and focused on interaction and specific interests rather than just being informative.

The ‘15 minutes of fame’ idea was debunked, and the experiment demonstrated how humans are influenced by the presence of a camera and fame over extended periods.  Once the camera was on, individuals in the ‘experiment’ behaved in ways that most of us never would have publicly.  Individuals were willing to throw away every bit of privacy, autonomy, and dignity for cameras.  The extension of instant video-streaming and interactive internet was and continues to be as addictive as any drug.  Recent incidents such as the Facebook killer are evidence how such a powerful tool can be used and misused.  Overall, the experiment demonstrates the power of the internet on influencing daily life.

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SCT, Self-Efficacy, and the Reinvention of Myself

First, a consideration for the reader: I am very happy with who I am and am thankful for the opportunities that have lead me to be the person I am today. This connection of SCT and Self-efficacy was not written to induce any reaction other than that of a recollection and attribution of these concepts to my life.

Without going into much detail, who I am today is not who I was ten years ago. This can be said of nearly every person (with a few exceptions) and I am aware that the claim is not a radical one. SCT is often simplified to the concept of Reciprocal Determinism, the relationship and dynamics between an individual’s person, environment, and behavior. In my life, all three of these (in my own self-analysis) were consistently negative. From the angle of the person, I existed as someone with exceedingly low self-esteem (low self-efficacy), which was especially clear on a social level. My environment was one that involved high amounts of stress (not that I was in any physical danger) and underwent several changes in my physical and social environments during my teen years. My behavior fit within the textbook predictions of someone existed within the person and environment that I described, and as I mentioned earlier, the clearest example of this was in my social (lack of social rather) life. Upon reflection of how I saw my reality at the time, it is understandable that my self-efficacy was low and how my self-efficacy really dictated my responses to the stimuli in my life. My behavior accurately depicted my current emotional/mental state and a physical record of this could be found on my first social media accounts (which are now, thank God, deleted and lost in history.) My first posts/tweets were more negative, vague, and mostly held a sense of dissatisfaction. Now this is not to say that I was posting for the sake of recognition or feedback, but with the introduction of these new mediums, it became an opportunity to express the negative view of my reality and be rewarded by a slight release of endorphins. This pattern went on for several years, and really hindered my self-efficacy to grow in a direction that was healthy. It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to attribute my reality (person, environment, behavior) as an opportunity to grow that I saw a shift in my self-efficacy. I started to read more, enter difficult social situations intentionally, and made a habit to learn about my environment from micro and macro levels. This meant that when I was interacting at all on my social media accounts, I would create a conscious effort to post more positive content. Essentially I was training my person and behavior to become more prepared for the inevitable environmental factors that would have crippled me before. This transformation is an ongoing process that I still work on today. I still will catch myself posting/tweeting content that is not in some way positive to myself, and I still will struggle with certain social situations if they are unfamiliar or uncommon. But I can look back and see a change in how my self-efficacy is now at a more stable and confident level, as well as recognize that I can attribute negative influences in my reality as positive learning opportunities.

 

In reflection of the film “We Live in Public,” I think that many thoughts that I have had about the online world and especially social media were confirmed and laid out on a physical stage that may never happen again (legally.) Josh Harris’s unique ability to gather talent and personality from all ends of the spectrum for his websites and especially the small “city” he developed really point to how influential and intoxicating online membership can be. I believe that after all of the information was brought out about his projects, people saw the signs of some of the serious repercussions of living in an online-immersive environment. I do not think that today, it is thought of as often, or is rather joked about considering the obvious chokehold that online relevancy has on our American society. On the surface, it would appear that self-efficacy is high among those who interact online, but upon any further research, it is clear that depression, aggression, and defensive tendencies are at the peak of this new generation that has been brought up in both a physical and virtual world. Nearing the end of the filming of Josh Harris’s project, it becomes clear that emotionally, members (rats) of his society were less confident and much more willing to carry out the requests (commands) of those in charge.

“If you walk up to someone and tell them to take off their pants, they won’t do it. But if you walk up with a video camera and ask ‘Take off your pants.’ They’ll do it. The eyeballs that perceive that moment give it power.” This quote from on of the filmmakers accurate describes today’s online world. “Do it for the Vine!” and other pressures make the online world now a place that can almost incite anyone to do anything, simply because others are watching. SCT’s “reinforcements” are evident as soon as you enter any online profile, where now the rewards of the virtual world are now more important (or rather perceived as more important) than that of the physical world. We are creating an environment that is often not mentally healthy, but is also dangerously Orwellian.