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Your Social Life: Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog? Essay Example

4 pages
866 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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There is a general consensus that when a new social tool is introduced to people, a change in their lifestyle, positive or negative, is inevitable. It does not only improve communication with each other, but also, it affects relationship among themselves. A debate on how the social media has influenced the lifestyles and relationships of people has long been withstanding. In her article, Your Social Life: Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog? Pamela Haag borrows Isaiah Berlins the fox and hedgehog distinction essay to explore how the social media has influenced her life and personal thoughts on the subject. From her fox might have an active social life and many acquaintances but doesnt know much about them hypothesis. It is clear that her stance is that the social media has inclined lifestyles towards Foxs social life (Haag, par.3). Personally, I agree with the others who believe that our social lifestyles have changed due to social networks, inclining us to what the fox social life is, rather than the hedgehog. This essay will critically evaluate Haags arguments on the fox and hedgehogs analogy to changing lifestyle and support my thesis that indeed social networking has changed our lifestyles.

From the article, Haag has a great analytical mind and the ability to view her life with and without social media networks strikes a deep thought on how actually social networks have impacted our relationships. In the parable of hedgehog and the fox, the author of the article directly borrows from the work of the ancient poet, Archilochus, where a hedgehog is shown as a character that knows many details about one thing while a fox just knows a few details about many things (Haag, par.1). To her, this parable perfectly fits into todays social life because at a point in life when she was growing up, she just had few friends whom she knew a lot of things about but later when social networks arrived, she observed one could know a million little things about many people.

Since the introduction of social media networks, our social lives have drastically changed. These networks have provided essential tools to ease the process of making new acquaintances and, as a result of this, peoples social lifestyles are shifting from a hedgehog standpoint of having a few close friends, to having a lot of them you know practically nothing about. For instance, before social media, people used to talk a lot more physically rather than using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and this move have killed the emotional link between friends. If we consider the quote below

Most of us probably have both and are fox-ish or hedgehog-ish, but not exclusively one or the other (Haag, par.5).

It is difficult to completely shift to an exclusive hedgehog or fox lifestyle. This is because each of the lifestyles has their merits and it would be completely ignorant to banish one for the other. For instance, it would be impossible to have an intimate friendship with the entire classmate, especially after school. Social media allows one to keep in touch with such people and know what is happening in their lives. The social media has added another aspect to our lifestyles whose impacts cannot just be ignored.

Although the change brought about by the introduction of social media networks is inevitable, one has the option to model their social lifestyle either as hedgehog-ish or fox-ish depending on their distinctive traits. For the hedgehog option, ones social life may be boring, but you are compensated with a group of reliable and trustworthy friends. The fox social life, on the other hand, is very active, with many acquaintances to hang out with, but they may not be reliable. Another difference between a hedgehog and a fox lifestyle is the point of emphasis. According to Hagg, the fox social life skims lightly and broadly while hedgehog probes deeply and narrowly (Haag, par.4). This essentially means that a fox will only have less attention and emotions that are shallow in addition to being delimited by the media channels. A hedgehog is, however, different because it gives attention to just a people hence allowing more deeply plumbed emotional exchange that could never be achieved through the social networks.

From the analysis of the fox and hedgehog analogy of the impact of social media networks to peoples social lifestyle, logical facts brought forth by Haag show that majority of peoples lifestyles have shifted towards foxs traits. Additionally, if social media networks did not exist, it would virtually be impossible to reach the magnitude the media allows hence people would be stuck with traditional interaction, which, is more intimate than through social media. This analytical deduction further supports my agreement with the others who believe that our social lifestyles have changed due to social networks. The most important take away from Haags article is that, although one cannot be exclusively a hedgehog or a fox, being hedgehog would be the best because it allows you some real friendships who you can count on, unlike the fox social lifestyle.


Work cited

Haag, Pamela. "Your Social Life: Are You A Fox Or A Hedgehog?." Big Think, 2017,


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