A busy week and increasing discomfort with some of the aspects of the online world has me taking a break this week. I have a story for next week, Monday, so please bear with me for now.
As I lay on the couch last night, exhausted, contemplating my obsession with the color grey, I began to realize just how much distrust I have for social media. I know. I have said this here before. I have written openly about it. I have grouched about it and felt awful about it and at times asked myself ‘why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I follow the crowd?’
Which is ridiculous because the truth is I would never want to be like everyone else. I’ve never cared about popularity or following any crowd.
Social media is not for everyone. It’s not really the place for deeply sensitive people. Maybe the sensitive who can market their sensitivity and parlay it into a shtick of 25K plus followers. Or for those who can ‘play it’.
It’s ‘noisy’. Overstimulating. And ‘they’ own you in many regards. Control your existence there rewarding proper social media etiquette with the treat of visibility.
Of course, the majority of people on social media would challenge me forcefully about this (you might too) or dismiss me as a contrarian. Dismiss away. If someone who thinks for themselves and cringes at the thought of ‘having to conduct my business by spending a considerable amount of my valuable time growing followers, jumping up and down about my ‘product’ and losing my individuality to an algorithm’, can be described using that term, then so be it.
Over the years, I’ve experimented. Tried to see if I could make it work using all the bells and whistles and tricks of the trade. It was awful. And felt unbearably fake. That type of garb does not look good on me. But bravo for those who fit the uniform. I prefer looser clothing.
My thoughts about this topic are not random. They are as a result of extensive research, observation, experience and ideas such as mass formation (the study of how individual behavior is influenced by group behavior). A nutshell statement and the tip-tip-tip of the iceberg. Belgian Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University, Dr. Mattais Desmet, expands on this with the deep dive of a forensic scientist. And notwithstanding, social media behavior modification as outlined with great accuracy and honesty by Jaron Lanier.
Had I not experienced both states briefly (yet intensely) I would not be here writing this. But I have painful first hand knowledge. I found myself sucked into the black hole of expectation, adoration and make believe. I don’t like the impact the journey has had on me.
As always, this is my opinion. No one has to accept, reflect or agree with me. If I required that, I would not be re-evaluating my need to continue.
Maybe this is why I closed my Etsy shop (that’s another story, about dictatorship) and opened the shop here. And why I’m feeling more inclined to write the blog. I’m basically posting my life’s work. It’s a process unconnected to outcomes. People can come and go as they wish. There are no expectations. No facades. I think it’s great when literature or any art form helps us connect. That’s all I ever wanted. To connect. To find common ground through stories or opinions.
PS…apologies about the jinormous photo at the top. I tried to make it smaller but it seems to have a mind of its own. See. Technology!
This Post Has 4 Comments
100% Deaborah. Could not agree more. It has sucked the life out of real and meaningful communications for the most part. Everybody is presenting their “gloss” to the world knowing it’s unlikely anyone will see the truth up close. It’s a bandwagon so many have jumped on, never realising, or perhaps ignoring, the true cost of these platforms.
Get well soon!
That’s it in a nutshell Denise. Very well explained. Like so many things in life, blinkers are handy to wear and ignorance is a wonderful state of being. I see it as millions of mini-cults, distracting us from our own lives and attempting to make us feel as if somehow, we are just not good enough. The actual social media model is insidious and highly manipulative. But in a way knowing the truth behind the facade helps. Knowledge is power.
Thanks for your well wishes. Take care of yourself and I appreciate your valuable input.
You are both so correct in your assertions! My colleagues spend half their (work!) day on the phone – normally Facebook and Insta. To interrupt them is a major crime, with frowning looks. And the streets here are full of peoplr walking with their heads down. Where will it all end!!!
It’s no wonder productivity and accuracy in the workplace continues to dis-improve. We see it here too. A large percentage of the population seems to be more interested in their ’15 minutes of fame’ than actually getting anything done. And never mind, they are paid a wage to do this.
No idea where it will end. I could be ultra-pessimistic (because I’m so good at it) and say, I think it will just get worse. As technology digs into our lives further and further, I’d say no one will communicate at all except through likes, emojis and trite comments. I’ve heard stories of people’s teens together in a group, seated around a table, not even looking at each other…communicating back and forth using their phones.
I hope it doesn’t get worse of course. But it seems to be out of control and sneaking its way into every corner of our lives. All I can do personally is stay off the phone, stay creative and try to stay sane. AND, minimize the use of Platforms or delete them altogether. I only have FB for an old friend in the States and will be phasing out Instagram.
Thanks Evangeline. Really great to get your thoughts on this.
Hope all is well with you. Take care.
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