The influence of social media on our lives

A woman looks at social networking applications
How did the Oct. 4 social media outage affect you?
Manan Vatsyayana | AFP via Getty Images 2020

It’s only been 16 years since the forces of social media entered our lives. But in those 16 years, they have moved from the margins — teenagers, game players, internet professionals and fame-seekers — to the center of culture. So much so that when Facebook and two platforms owned by Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, went offline on Oct. 4, analysts were alarmed.

For many people, Facebook is the internet, so their outage stopped businesses in their tracks, paralyzed economic transactions and turned some workdays into spontaneous days off.

What does this mean for and about us? Have we adjusted our social, emotional and economic habits in order to best support and cope with this new normal? Does social media have a greater influence than we have acknowledged? What should we do to adjust? 

Guest host Chris Farrell dug into the shifting social media landscape with Macalester College professor Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette and host of the podcast, “With Friends Like These” from Crooked Media, as well as and David Larson, a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


  • Ana Marie Cox is the founder of Wonkette and the host of the podcast, “With Friends Like These” from Crooked Media. She teaches in the Media and Cultural Studies Department of Macalester College.

  • David Larson is a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

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