The amount of technology we have these days allows us to develop many social norms that otherwise, without technology, would never be possible.
As someone who is somewhat disconnected from all the new technological advances, the I-just-bought-a-new-iPhone-six-months-ago-and-it’s-already-old mentality and new forms of interacting with friends through new smartphone apps, it is quite entertaining to watch as social norms become ironically, less normal and less natural than ever.
One social norm that most all of us are guilty of, at least some point in our technological lives, is the use of your own personal life as a form of entertainment for others. With Facebook and Twitter, it is now possible to tell all of your friends and followers random thoughts, personal achievements or even what you ate for dinner, and the thing is, people will care. You are able convince others how “cool” your life is, when really it probably isn’t, but making your life seem super awesome has instant gratification. No one cares if it’s true, if you stole it from another’s post, or even if someone hacked your account and posted something ridiculous. The little tiny red numbers on the top right corner of your Facebook make us feel liked and that’s all that matters. People are able to literally stroke your ego from an other country within 3 seconds after you’ve posted something. These “likes” and comments are little bits of attention that, otherwise, you would never receive if you were to delete your Facebook account or even put down your phone down for a few hours of the day.
But who doesn’t like attention? Who doesn’t want people to like everything they say? Who doesn’t want to feel funny? We can’t help it, we like it. I like to blog. I like to share my ideas and my thoughts. I like to see that others are reading and sharing my ideas, just as I like to read and share others ideas. It’s not the attention seeking that is negative, it is the intentions with which we seek attention that we must be aware of.
Facebook has been around for a while and I, along with soooo many others, at times, find myself posting worthless, meaningless statuses looking for a little bit of self gratification (technically the gratification is given to you by others, but you provoked it, initially) I just created a twitter account, and as I hope to use social networking sites mostly to share inspirational stories and quotes, art, and happiness, an occasional egocentric, worthless post might slip through my posting filter of what is worthy or not.
There is one bandwagon I have no jumped onto, the bandwagon that inspired this post, the bandwagon that I hope one day in the near future will become an abandonedwangon. I believe that snapchat and smartphones are what made it acceptable. And I believe it is something that is just, well, a bit embarrassing to the human race. I am talking about the infamous “selfie”.
This is a social norm that I absolutely, 100% DO NOT understand. Why should it be “normal” for someone to lift their iPhone a foot and a half in front of their face, make a hideous expression and take a picture? Ever? Why do we feel the need to take countless, identical pictures of ourselves? Then we post them on Facebook. We send them to friends. To be honest, I would say this to my best friend, if they ever sent me a snap chat of themselves, “I love you, but I already know what you look like, good days and bad days. I don’t need my phone blowing up with pictures of you that really, honestly, do not contain the least bit of artistic value and truly are not worthy of sharing. I love you, but no.”
So, I was thinking. What if.. in 2014, every time someone were to snapchat a “selfie” or post a “selfie” on Facebook, instead we posted something actually worthy of sharing, something insightful, or something loving? Just think about all the useful information we could circulate. Think about all of the ideas that we could instill in other people’s minds. Think about how many thoughts we could provoke by introducing all our friends to something they, themselves, have never pondered before!
Of course, 2014 will roll around. 12:01 AM on January 1st will arrive. I’ll check out whats happening on Facebook and I can guarantee that “selfies” of how amazing people look, or don’t, on new years will clutter my news feed.
And I suppose, that’s alright. But, as for me, I’m going strive for a bit more of a selfless year. I want selflessness, instead of “selfies”, to become a social norm. I can only hope that 2014 is year of sharing ideas, things that aren’t visible on the outside, words of love and encouragement, and a year of selflessness. So here’s to it, you comin’ along?!
Please feel free to post the link to this page on any of your friend’s “selfies”. I actually encourage it :) Thanks!