the internet has undoubtedly made the world seem smaller. it does a lot of amazing things in terms of bringing people together across the globe. people with bizarre or niche interests. very specific medical problems (the number of times I’ve googled – and I’m sure you have too – my symptoms to be like, hell yeah, I’m not the only one). dating websites. old school friends who haven’t seen eachother in years who have reconnected. job opportunities. music classifieds. long lost siblings. having access to obscure films, music, art. or it could even be as simple as the fact that my parents live in another city but I can happily (and easily) skype them from the comfort of my living room and feel like they are right there with me. you suddenly realise all of these links between friends of friends and crazy connections with people you had no idea knew each other. it does a lot of great things in terms of making the world a smaller place…but in a similar sense, it has just as many downfalls. being so easily linked to so many people has just as many negative effects. as a society we are becoming so obsessed with what everybody else is doing, posting, talking about, that we’ve stopped living our own lives because are too busy speculating about others.
facebook is a really specific example of this. I’m not sure if sharing every menial detail of your life online is such a good thing. sure it’s entertaining, for a little while, but how many statuses can you read about how drunk people got on the weekend before you think, well fuck, don’t people have better things to do with their lives? it’s a really bad habit society has gotten into that we actually think our lives and our thoughts are that important to the rest of the world that we need to share them online for all to see (I know, I’ve already whinged about this in my first ever blog post about blogging, but I’m going to touch on it again in a different manner). in fact, I’m not even going to go into detail about the ways people can be shit on facebook because this article sums it up pretty nicely.
sure, you feel ‘involved’ in people’s lives who you may or may not have seen for ages. but if you weren’t making the effort in the first place to see these people in person and catch up for a coffee or a cold beverage than why do you care if they are at the movies or eating a banana? some people sit there for hours trolling through people’s posts (out of boredom more than anything) and it’s a little bit depressing if you really think about it. you don’t realise the notice some people take at small details you might post about (or a photograph you’ve been tagged in). but it really hits home when you have your mum calling you up screaming at you because some long detached family friend saw a photograph of your latest ink and decided to phone her and ask her how she felt about it. ‘why did you even post a photograph of your tattoo in the first place if you’re so opposed to sharing things on the internet?’ you probably wonder. you hypocritical bitch, bec… you’re probably thinking. and the sad truth is, because I admit that I am totally a product of the society I belong to (yeah good one, blame society). I just can’t help but do it, even though I despise it. I don’t think about what I’m posting half of the time that I post. it’s a totally socially acceptable addiction and generally an automatic reflex. as a society we have literally started thinking in tweets and facebook statuses. an event didn’t “happen” if it’s not documented somewhere. you were never somewhere if somebody didn’t tag you or post a photo. I’ve literally caught myself mentally captioning a moment or a thought into however many characters a facebook status is and thinking “what the hell is wrong with me!”. I just do it more out of habit than anything else… and I kind of hate myself for it. are our lives becoming synthesised and nicely summarised into facebook statuses? neatly wrapped up into a nice little package that people can scroll through on a page for all to see? are we selling an idea of ourselves or a representation of who we are because of where we’re tagged, what we post about, what we consume online?
are we all becoming self-satisfied, attention seeking whores in this popularity contest for who has the most likes?
the simple answer: probably, yes. but we’ll keep doing it, because the little red flag on the notification centre is just too damn satisfying.