Post Modern Theory in the Twenty-First Century As society continues to make the transition into the Information Age the general consensus on social theories is also experiencing change. The way that individuals interact has changed dramatically and is ever changing as evidenced by the phenomenon of the social networking revolution. Social scientists have long hypothesized social theories in an attempt to explain social phenomena and gain a better understanding of society as a whole. The general consensus for contemporary social theory has seen a shift toward post modernism.
Post-modernism is the social theory that claims that society is now under the effect of the individual who creates a reality for him or herself. It is this shift towards post modernist-thought that has fueled the social networking revolution by allowing individuals to create an alternative realities for him or her self. Although post-modern social theory does not have any particular social scientist proposing it, it has gained much popularity in recent years. Post-modern social theory holds that apparent realities are merely social constructs that are subject to change over time.
It claims that realities are subject to individual perception and interpretation. Postmodernism also holds that there are no absolute truths and that individual worldviews are completely subjective. These aspects of postmodernism place much importance on the individual rather than groups like previous social theories. In a post-modern society individuals view the world subjectively, which allows them to create their own reality for themselves. Post-Modern social theory’s enablement of individuals to create their own reality can be seen throughout American society.
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Perhaps this is best evidenced by the use of social networking. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter give individuals the ability to create an optimum reality for themselves. No longer does a person have to be physically present to be seen and observed. Social networking allows people to have a “profile picture” which serves as a reference point for the appearance of an individual. The profile picture can be any image that the individual so chooses to be a representation of them. Having the option of choosing how you are viewed and represented has enabled individuals to create the optimum reality for them.
Individuals are no longer subject to being represented by their actual physical appearance. Instead, individuals are free to edit, crop, and select images of them so that they can distort their reality in order to achieve an optimal self-representation. For instance individuals who perceive themselves as unattractive are now able to choose a profile picture that is more flattering to their physical appearance. Another example would be someone using a completely different person in his or her profile picture. The social networking revolution has brought much change in regard to the manner in which individuals interact with each other.
No longer are interpersonal relationships contingent on physical interaction between individuals. Interactions are now able to take place electronically via the Internet. These changes in interpersonal relationships have been fueled by a shift towards post-modern social theory. It is the postmodern notion of the ability of the individual to make their own reality that has made these changes possible. Individuals are always seeking self-affirmation from their peers and being able to distort reality has become possible with the social networking revolution.
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