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Psychology : Applied

The Psychology of Social Media Podcast on The Mental Breakdown

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to have a nice long conversation about my book The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: connected-up instantaneous culture and the selfWhen it launched, I had the enormous pleasure of speaking about it at The Freud Museum London with Susie Orbach. It’s hard to believe that was four years ago now! Still, while things have certainly changed in the world of technology and social media, I did write the book in the full knowledge that I was talking about things that were in flux. This is why I did best to future-proof the text, so it would be outdated the moment it was printed.

“In order to future-proof this text as much as possible I have chosen to take a process oriented approach as much as possible, rather than a content oriented approach. While a content oriented approach would be primarily interested in examining social networking sites (SNSs) as they currently exist, the alternative process oriented approach will focus on the ways in which individuals and our society at large are implicated and mediated within the online social media itself. Hence the use of the word “psychodynamics” in the title should alert you that it is the dynamics (the forces behind) that will be the locus of interest, not the object itself; psychodynamics, here, is an umbrella term used to identify a while series of theories and practices developed through the various schools of psychoanalysis that investigate human motivation, meaning-making, and unconscious process. Because SNSs are likely to continue to develop rapidly in as yet unexpected ways, the question of how humans might adapt to these rapid changes remains open…

They way in which the disruptive nature of online technology operates alongside the ways in which social media mediates the basic human dynamics of relating will be the constant centre of interest of this text; this model should be continue to be amenable to application to as yet unanticipated iterations of social networking. We will keep coming back to the question of where and how virtual DNA meets human psychological DNA; how the contemporary mode of digital expression meets our deepest unconscious need to recognise, be recognised, and relate to others: our psychodynamics.” (p. xvi)

This week I had the opportunity to do a deep dive on the material as it exists today, with the lovely gentlemen of The Mental Breakdown. Doctors Berney and Richard were engaging conversationalists and really helped to bring out some of the major themes in relation to social media and psychodynamic psychology today. I really enjoyed speaking with them. I am posting their YouTube video here – but if you’d like to listen “on the go” then please download it direct from iTunes.

Please note! Through some mystery I’ve been unable to work out, our little interview seems to have rendered my voice a little bit quicker and a little bit higher than usual. Hence, I sound a little bit like one of these guys from The Lollipop Guild! It takes a little getting used to – but you adjust to it after a while. I hope you enjoy!


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