Trials and Tribulations with Social Media

I’m kind of losing faith in things; in art, in originality, in sincerity, in communication, in friendship, in genuine interaction… I doubt it all.

I think it’s important to revisit the idea of social networking. The term networking suggest building your network of contacts; in the business world this is an invaluable skill to have. The phrase, “it’s all who you know” refers to the profound benefit of being likeable and persuasive. This is what facebook is, and what myspace turned into, and all the other aspire to be. What is interesting is that they don’t seem to start off like this. They start off as cool, and hip, and something that benefits your life. But it ultimately comes down to networking; acquiring new contacts and furthering your influence on, a) an organization, or b) somebody else life. Now, what benefit does it present for you to infiltrate the life of somebody else? It’s actually quite simple, your selling yourself to other people in hopes to influence. If more people buy into your lifestyle, the more of an influence you will have on them. This, like in business, results in many benefits. You become attractive, motivating, or a source of inspiration; all of these traits of course leading to better evolutionary fitness. In the business of life, fitness is success. This all makes sense to me know, but it didn’t before; in fact I am still consumed with the style of communication that being promoted.

Facebook isn’t really used to communicate as much as it is used to promote yourself. If you want to see the physical manifestation of your ego, it’s your profile page, and your online life. This is how you want other to see you. This is how you talk. This is what you look like. This is who you want to be. If it wasn’t you wouldn’t have facebook. Now, I’m not against social media, but it is important to recognize that this has a profound effect on the human psyche, specifically on communication and interaction.

I’m not sure how you define the term ego, but to me it is the me that you wish you were. It is our evolutionary survival tactic to one up one another in an attempt to better reproduce. It isn’t caring, nor compassionate, but rather strategic and tactical. It is an extension of the genius of man. However when this aspect of the human psyche becomes continuously emphasized, it becomes dominant over the other aspects of human life. The ego is the net worker; it is the charming individual that is infiltrating an environment that he would benefit from. This ego is good for business as it persuades others into buying what it is selling; i.e. itself. This is the point of Facebook, this is why it is around; It is a business tool used to not only inspire you to buy, but for you to inspire others to buy. Consumerism is nothing new, but it is important to be aware of what facebook is doing. It is not a free thing that friends do with one another, we are doing it to benefit our ego’s and ultimately big business. We use Facebook to suppress the sadness of our hollow daily lives; validating ones existence helps ease the pain.

The main purpose of this thought was to emphasize the implications of such a manner of thinking. Facebook is relatively new for most of us; my timeline tells me I’ve had it since 2007. But there are those are spending their adolescence priming their personalities on facebook, and subsequently becoming persuasive and cunning. What will be lost, however, will be originality, honestly, creativity, and substance. The forces of social media attempt to mould us into one individual, liked by all, and highly influential. What is fascinating is that we are not being forced to do anything; we do this on our own will. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable. It is good for business in the sense that we can buy ourselves happiness. It is bad in the sense that we need to buy happiness; something that I find infinitely more important.

I’m curious to see what will become of future generations. The Heath of our citizenry, economy, and political environment may be greatly altered by the next generation as they learn the value of social networking. This may prove to be beneficial, however, I am more sceptical.  I see this as a stronger push towards conformity and subsequent consumerism, continuing the presence of corrupt leaders and depleting resources. Social media has great potential to create change, however this tool is dependant on its the usership… Now, if only we weren’t so concerned with our cats and tattoos.

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