When using #Social media and modern technology, we are able to re-visit many past events that would have been confined to the archives of memory. However, traditional human means of social perception are developed to rely on direct stimuli, and so this modern form of analysis may affect the way in which we perceive other people.
In 1944, Fritz Heider, an Austrian psychologist from the Gestalt school, described how we can develop social perceptions by carefully observing changes in the environment and correctly correlating these changes with the source. When perceiving these actions and attributes we use all available stimuli in the environment to colour this perception. This was shown by Mark Snyder, in 1977, as he found that we are able to form a baseline opinion of people and thereafter keep additional information away. This suggests that there is an underlying cognitive vetting process wherein we decide how important this new information is to our overall perception.
Although now we don't have to leave it there. Means of communication have existed in letter-form since the time of ancient Egypt, so it's hardly a new phenomenon. However, the medium by which the information can be gathered has completely changed and was certainly never available in such high volume. We can now easily spend hours trawling through text conversations, #Facebook photos, Twitter arguments and even covertly look at people's personal profiles on a whole multitude of social media platforms, to gather information about them.
These new means of gathering such vast stores of information contradict the normal means by which we would access memories of people and events. Donna Bridge found, in 2012, that each time we recall a memory, we aren't actually visiting that original moment in which the memory was conceived, but rather remembering the last time we remembered it. Although this memory-recall process was inherently corruptible, the new levels to which these memories can now be corrupted is unprecedented. Instead of forging new opinions that soften or bitter over time, we are now able to look up that fateful conversation or scroll through an album of otherwise meaningless pictures actively searching for clues that may re-shape our memories.
Of course it's cynical to think that people are constantly looking to form a better reality for the memories they once held as truth; my intention here is to illustrate that we now have a whole new platform for memory manipulation in which subjectivity still plays an important part. What is intriguing is that this model subverts Carl Jung's idea of the subconscious. According to this, an extravert is a person who requires gratification from external interactions; however, much of this interaction, in the modern day, now takes place in isolation from others, a status traditionally occupied by introverts. This could be important to understanding why people feel disconnected in spite of the ever-expanding network of technology around them.
All of these contradicting factors may mean that social media users may be perceiving others in ways never possible before. What is clear is that now a whole new platform exists for the perception process to take place. #Internet