“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life” – Andrew Brown
Anyone else have friends that live through their various online profiles? I know I do. There are a lot of people I know that don’t even have real lives anymore. Most of them are so concerned with getting a picture that documents how much “fun” they are having, or what a “good time” everyone else is missing out on, that in reality they are not experiencing any of these things.
Living through social media creates an alternate universe, one that is much safer than real life. It’s the kind of universe where you can Photoshop out your flaws, and have strangers shower you with adoration. In turn, egomaniacs are being created in droves. Thanks to social media, people can be even more in love with themselves than ever.
Apps like Instagram are all about instant gratification. We can filter our pictures, make them look pretty and wait for people to “like” what we posted. Then in turn, we feel liked. And popular! Online “followers” can even replace real-life friends. You can control your interaction with them, weed out the negative and focus on the positive. It’s all too easy.
The same goes for social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. People can carefully paint a picture of their lives; typically a much prettier picture than real life. Perfect families, perfect relationships and perfect kids are blasted all over these sites daily. In this universe, you can be connected with everyone that you went to high school with, even the people that you didn’t like back then! Now you can be “friends” with these people, and even better, they can see how wonderful your life is, and how “happy” you are now.
If all that wasn’t enough, Gmail just introduced a new feature called “Shelfies” – short for Sharable Selfies, which comes with the tagline “set your own photo as a Gmail custom theme and share it with your friends so they can enjoy looking at you as much as you do.” At first I thought this was a joke. Then I realized that it wasn’t. Narcissism at its finest!
Maybe someday there will be a backlash to all this, and people will go back to living their lives; maybe even reinstating human friendships. At least until the next big thing. ♥