“It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” – Picture of Dorian Gray
Recently I have tried to tackle the question of social media narcissism and determine if our desire to be noticed and followed is more marketing/branding focused or pure self absorbed selfishness. Perhaps the root cause may even go deeper to some rooted self-esteem issues. I understand the importance of “likes” and “+one” as they help shape SEO and effectively lead brand marketing your way. I even understand the significance of comments as they have become an integral part of our communication patterns.
Though, without a deeper and more significant study of a broader audience can I make any clear deductions. For some, a virtual presence has created a significant and even lucrative brand which has grown and flourished well. For others, mobile social networking has made instant gratification almost an obsession. I can certainly think of worse obsessions than an instant upload of your life.
I have witnessed extremes when it comes to active participation in the social space. Some are passionately against the public exposure of their lives and some embrace it as an extension of themselves. Each has their own medium/platform of choice. Foursquare has given individuals a sense of social celebrity status allowing them to check in to each and every spot and often rewarding them with mayor status and a digital star but no financial reward. Facebook allows users to upload pictures, video, status updates and location status within a few clicks while still allowing the opportunity to monitor each and every like and comment. Does this take away from the “actual” experience of the event? Who am I to answer. I rarely have a phone with me when I am out and I do not even own a smartphone.
So what is the fascination with ourselves? How many Facebook and Myspace pictures can you find of people standing in front of their own mirror taking pictures of themselves with their IPhone? Probably more than most of us care to want to know. We have become a society so self-absorbed in ourselves that we may be forgetting the importance of sharing, volunteering, helping and given back to those that had been there for us in the past.
If we resort to selfish tendencies, we will never recover from the economic and social woes we are so deeply entrenched in.
By no means can any one single person reverse a societal shift, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is one. Mobile technology, social media and cloud technology have given all of us a global audience to promote the one person we know so well, ourselves. In exchange for selling our soul for the opportunity at instant cyber fame, we are becoming numb to the moral standards that once made this world a better place to live.
Maybe a Mayan apocalypse isn’t such a bad thing.
There is nothing wrong with self promotion. We all want a little attention every now and again to give us the confidence we all need to get through this thing called life, but we also need to lean on our support network that has and continues to be there for us. We cannot become a “me” community. We have to look around and hold hands in unity if we are ever going to recover and prosper again.