College of the Canyons adjunct professor Kathryn Coleman will present a sociological discussion focused on the wide range of seemingly positive benefits, and corresponding potential for widespread social disintegration, derived from society’s rampant use of popular social networking sites during the fall 2013 Scholarly Presentation ‘Our Two-Faced(book) World,’ taking place Nov. 14, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).
Providing an overview of the history and development of “social media” — from the advent of e-mail to today’s vast networks of virtual communities — Coleman’s presentation will begin by exploring some of the positive ways in which the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has permeated several longstanding social institutions, while benefitting its users.
“Facebook has changed the way we communicate, the way we spend our time, and even the way we do business. It has also shaped our language,” Coleman said. “If I had asked someone to ‘like’ something 10 years ago, it would not have had the same meaning it does today.”
However, the presentation will also explore the theory, shared by some sociologists, that these same social networking sites also contain an inherent dehumanizing agent that can affect its users, and society, in many subtle but very dangerous ways.
“Society’s sometimes obsessive use of social networking sites has led to the development of several long term social affects stemming from the idea that these virtual communities often minimize the importance of face-to-face social interaction, while enabling a tendency for users to be inherently comfortable with isolation,” said Coleman.
Coleman goes on to point out that society’s widespread use of social networking sites has also contributed to the creation of virtual worlds and online communities in which there are no boundaries, and often no regard for truth or the regulation of behavior.
“Offensive and threatening language becomes normalized, while photos of and statements by people engaged in dehumanizing acts are not condemned, but instead encouraged, ‘liked’ and commented on.”
The College of the Canyons Scholarly Presentation ‘Our Two-Faced(book) World’ will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, on the main stage of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).
Admission to this event is free and open to the public. Seating will begin 30 minutes prior to the program’s start time, and is available on a first come, first served basis.
Attendees can park for free in college lots 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, located off Rockwell Canyon Road adjacent to the PAC.
About the Presenter
Kathryn Coleman is a critical sociologist specializing in the areas of sexuality, deviance, crime, and social control.
A College of the Canyons alumna, Coleman received her Master of Arts in Sociology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Her prior sociological research has included published papers on topics including the re-humanization of sexuality, the American prison system and the relationship between academia and intelligence agencies.
Coleman began teaching at College of the Canyons in the fall of 2008, covering courses in women’s studies, sexuality, death and dying, criminology and intimate relationships and the family.
In addition, she currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the sociology departments at Los Angeles Valley Community College and Pasadena City College.