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April 26, 2013 || 3:30 PM
Systems visualization is a wholistic approach to visually representing a complex system that communicates both data and an argument about the system. It distinguishes itself from most data visualizations by integrating data with story telling, visual metaphors and complex system theories. It aims to convince a wide audience of the particular message by utilizing evocative visual metaphors in an emotionally impactful way. It also draws effectiveness from employing graphic form, colors, and composition as communicative tools.
Do you realize that you distract yourself because you’re not fully satisfied in the present moment? You can’t be satisfied without these distractions. The more you participate in them, the more you handicap yourself from being satisfied with where you are. We want to show that there’s a system relating our everyday distractions with our experiences of dissatisfaction.
Our audience would be high-school students, college students, young adults, or those who are accustomed to spending most of their time on technology-based distractions. Students or young-adults are most likely to be socially affected by these media and social outlets, and will most likely resonate with the addictive nature of the distractions.
First draft of our system
The system follows an addict’s loop, where the addiction is distraction. For the generation of college-aged students, distractions come most commonly in the form of social media and technology.
The draw in using these distractions is based in a social culture that has built these distractions into the foundations of expected social interaction. Furthermore, people’s needs for connectivity, instant gratification, anonymity and exclusivity bring them to these social media and technological outlets through which they believe their needs are satisfiable.
The hook is in finding that the majority of these draws are indeed fulfilled during the time that the distractions are being used. The continual return to these technologies contributes to the depth of perceived dependence, and the wide reach of this user-driven, user-managed world as they are integrated more and more into our culture.
The withdrawal or negative feedback occurs when we stop using these social media and technology and the the high of using is gone. We often feel disconnected, unable to be instantly and constantly updated about the witticisms and mostly trivial life events of others. We are left with a distorted sense of time from the constant checking, and false or unattainable expectations of the real world, where true gratification is almost never instant. We also tend to suffer from a confused self-image and a lower self esteem, and a hypersensitive need for approval and affirmation.
Because the hook is no longer a distraction or a momentary part of living but instead a penetrating and essential part of our identity and culture, we have withdrawal and ultimately DISSATISFACTION. That dissatisfaction is a driving force in keeping this loop going and bringing individuals back to the initial draw of distractions. Unwilling to face the immediate difficulties, or in order to avoid current pain, we return to the distractions that perpetuate the unaddressed dissatisfaction with real life.
In order to create an engaging narrative to our infographic, we wanted to follow the story of a character, whom we eventually named Hubert the Addict.
In preparation for creating our infographic, we compiled statistics from a wide array of resources - other social-media related infographics, countless articles and reports, psychology studies and papers, and some class information.
We found an astounding number of statistics pointing to the negative effects of social media - facebook most often - and some other technology-based finds. We also find several psych studies relating false self-narratives to depression and other psych problems. We categorized our findings into different sections of our addict’s cycle, and eventually used this sectioned compilation of statistics and information in our final infographic.
The interconnectivity of our system is represented above. The sizes of the nodes represent their strength of connection, and the colors represent their categories. The breakdown of our system:
Social Media & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs