I must critique my place to share the following thoughts before I share at all. I acknowledge that my insights will not cure me of my post-modern, post-existential, posting compulsions. I am also acutely aware that I am as much the subject of this post as anyone reading it.
I also need to preface this post with the message that what I say is not a judgement of the individual. I theorize in fact that we are all being gently manipulated by a phenomenon not previously seen played out over the Internet.
What I do want to say, as my reflection on 2015, is that the selfie sticks we all got for Christmas the year before may have been shelved but our self obsessions have been ignited.
I feel that if there is one unifying movement that emerged in 2015 it was an explosion of self expression. We invented a new wave of overshare, and with it, a new desire for positive reinforcement: tip top status updates like ‘having a chai latte and super salad’ and here is a photo of me doing so. Followed by the terrifing hour of waiting and then ‘What, only 21 likes?’.
With the insecurity of caring how many likes is the power that mass opinion has to change you. That repost of the dying child and a message about the futility of war, 66 likes, ah that is better. I have value.
We say a lot to so many people these days. We also share too much of what other people say. I say this as a negative because I feel like we are compromising ourselves a little in doing so.
Given that our evolving habit ofsharing everything is growing stronger, why do I feel like I have something to say that is worth sharing? I have a knack of throwing words together, but really so what?
I could seriously do my head in sometimes, just trying to understand where the hell we are heading and the irony of postulating this in the very medium I am deriding. Imagine if Woody Allen was born in 1980, what kind of neurotic torture chamber would his life have been? I hope before his time we see his thoughts on these issues come through in his final films.
Selfies, proclaimations, rants, whitticisms. There are millions of us contributing to the ever deafening noise of social media. It also seems that we have worked out a way to streamline it, simply by grabbing a quote, unverified, from another person’s timeline with an inspirational backdrop of sunsets, rainbows and stars, and paying it forward.
I fear in our compulsive ‘share if you agree’s, and ‘wow this is so true’s and ‘I cant say this better’s that we are doing little more than butchering philosophical, ideological, political and spiritual knowledge. We are mixing all the metaphors, spreading propoganda, misinforming ourselves and boring the fuck out of our more rational facebook friends.
We have turned facebook into a fridge door full of motivational magnets. We have turned world politics into an exercise in taking misinformation and spreading it.
I fear for what we will see in 2016. The memes will not run out, but if we keep spreading them in the absence of context, I fear we will dumb ourselves down to the point of stupidity.
So is that it? Has Facebook homogonised the masses? Is Mark Z an evil mastermind sitting in his ivory tower watching the developed world evolve into hybrid robot-narcissists, capable of succumbing to crowd hysteria whilst posting our smiling faces at just the right angle?