Social media has become a quiet (kind of obvious) way to brag or show off—Lord knows what you’re bragging about is true or not.
We have become our own directors. We’ve mastered the art of angles, the ability to focus on one thing but really wanting us to pay attention to something else, i.e. taking a picture of your breakfast but in reality it’s your shirtless body you want us to admire.
Shirtless torsos, condescending commentary, bullying posts, rants, and toxic attitudes are everywhere. We have enough of those in the real world, so naturally they need to haunt us online too. There’s literally almost no escape.
Facebook has turned into journaling.
Twenty years ago, journaling was a way to privately release your anger, joy, thoughts and opinions in a nontoxic way. As a writer I’m a proponent of journaling—it’s one of the healthiest ways to defuse yourself.
But everything is public today, which makes everyone vulnerable to knowing all about you. Worse, we think they actually care.
Society has become so narcissistic that most of us think people care what we do from minute to minute, day to day. Our lives have become like the Truman Show—a 24-hour reality show and we’re the star/producer/writer of it. The control fuels our self-esteem and raises a consciousness that will otherwise be untapped.
Why is everyone desperate to prove themselves?
It goes well beyond Facebook posts and Grindr messages. Eventually the image we create (or at least hope to) shapes self-perception and creates a need to preserve it. Any person or thing that threatens this image becomes an enemy. Egos blossom in spite of it all.
There’s an army collecting on social media each and every day and no one seems to notice, or at least care. They’re not serving any purpose except to shock or redirect attention. There isn’t a greater cause for it: a message, a movement. Troupes of self-absorbed life-obsessors with no real motive—what’s the point?
This is the 21st century’s way of building self-esteem. It’s all about the likes, the shares and the comment threads. We use social media to test loyalty and to build a bigger understanding of our strengths rather than learning it in the real world.
Life has turned into a video game and like most video games, the pleasure of “winning” is short lived. We’re plugged into a zone for a long while but at some point we have to unplug and return to reality—what’s waiting for us there?
The mental and emotional space we spend most of our time turns into a default POV. We’re unconsciously building a habit of self-awareness that has nothing to do with collaboration, but pretentiousness and inauthenticity. The only way to rid ourselves of it and to experience genuine satisfaction is to stop living our lives in the Matrix.
Look at what’s happening in the world: Right wing nuts are going crazy over LGBT rights, talk of drone attacks are getting scarier and more personal, gun violence is increasing, ISIS is spreading further and all the while we use social media not as a tool, but as a way to feel above it all.
Social media takes us away from the painful realities. I don’t blame us. The world is too hard to look at sometimes. We need distraction, we must have it, otherwise we’ll go crazy with grief.
But at some point the constant feeding of our ego makes us blind. It convinces us it has nothing to do with us, when in reality it has everything to do with us.
The world’s evils depend on us not to pay attention. Let’s prove them wrong.