I recently went on a digital social network detox for a week and realized a lot of things about the way our society uses the Internet today. The basic goal of social media was to facilitate communication between human beings around the world but it seems like we’ve integrated it into our lives in a completely different way. It’s become this huge high school popularity contest where the only concern is what people think of what you’re doing. We act like voyeuristic creatures that lurk each other’s profiles all day to see what everyone’s up to and pride on the responses and approval of our posts. We get excited when people “like” or “comment” or “@” because it creates this type of societal validation. It’s essentially just a virtual non-existant bullshit arena of approval that we want to be apart of it and we’re not even exactly sure why.
Twitter, in my opinion, is like a foreign mistress that you only call for one night stands. It’s the social network of instant gratification, watered-down depth, and your followers are only there for a quick and easy get out. There’s not much loyalty and as much as I was a huge fan of it for the time being, I realize that it was more of a binary love-hate relationship than anything. I never actually liked Twitter but rather loved what it did to me. After creating my profile, within a few months I gathered over 16 000 followers and a huge response rate for my posts. But after a while I started to realize that my main reason for posting was to see people’s reactions and not necessarily to express anything about who I am. It was purely for the social validation that’d make me feel like I was “worth” something. The truth is, out of all those people I can count the ones that I honestly care about on one hand. I opened myself to unjustified criticism which made me start thinking about the overall integrity of the site. How can a genuinely respectable intelligent person possibly judge me in 140 characters or less? And I’m not saying this just happened on Twitter, on the contrary it happened on most of my social networks. I mean could you seriously tell me something about myself without knowing me, that you purely concluded through a couple of short phrases I post here in there? There is absolutely no depth, no reasoning, no argumentation in what you’re saying and you think that you can legitimately understand who I am? I started thinking about all these things and realized that a huge part of social media’s popularity today is due solely to the fact that we’re attracted to approval.
We all want to feel like the space we take on this earth is worth something. We all want to feel useful and have that quality that’ll set us apart from the rest. The worst part is, we’re looking for it in the wrong place. Your Internet following whether big or small really isn’t worth shit if your presence isn’t representing who you are. It’s become like a subconscious competition with ourselves to maintain a constant cool web image that appeals to the public, and we don’t even really know why we care so much about it. I mean if you think about it, none of it actually exists. And to be completely honest, the response actually is fulfilling to a certain extent because it makes us feel like we’re doing something right, and satisfaction is extremely difficult to experience; but the problem is that our desires are fulfilled artificially which means that they automatically have an expiration date.
Everything you see on my blog today is carefully picked and thought through. I post about things that I genuinely feel and love because it’s important to me to remain loyal to what I believe in. The limit draws itself when I realize that I’ll never be able to completely convey the emotions behind my words through a screen. It might get close but would never be the same as if we were to breathe in the same room. I can show you the result of what goes through my mind and try to explain it as much as possible, but you’d never be able to entirely understand the background behind it. It’s only a product that limits itself to that two second timeframe in which I press the post button, blurring out the twenty-year foundation built behind it that would really make you understand what I feel. When you post something on one of your sites, remember that our eyes can’t go beyond what we see through the backlight. It’s a moment of interest that can’t go further than what you provide. So in the future if you feel affected by an emotion you think someone felt about you through the Internet, remember that the validity is limited to the short-lived thought process that died the second after they hit enter.