Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
I have a friend, a 40-year-old family man, who is a whiz at networking in general, which includes online social networking, in a way that I could never care enough to be. But he’s driven to do it, and brilliant at it. He just announced that he finally has an Instagram account.
Now, that may seem a little behind the curve for many of you, but trust me, this guy hasn’t suffered for not being connected to Instagram. If he had needed it sooner, he would have gotten it sooner. I guess it’s possible that he’s recently lost track of his wife and kids, has checked all the closets, and figured the next step was finding them somewhere on Instagram. Or, maybe he just figured out how to monetize an Instagram account, and decided having one was finally worth the trouble. I wouldn’t say he’s never met a social network he didn’t like, but I would say he’s never met a social network he couldn’t use.
If the latter is the case, I must admit, the apparently boundless appeal of a social network that so narrowly defines the range of expression of its users continues to elude me. Little square, essentially captioned pictures that can’t be edited. I just don’t get it, just like I still don’t get Twitter.
But Twitter does seem to encapsulate well the world of social networking, with the basic call being, “Don’t you want to know what this is all about?” And the response, usually by the same person, being, “Why, it’s all about me, of course!”
This might be perfectly understandable, and maybe even healthy, for a business. But because what we become virtually seems more and more to be influencing what we become in reality, I’m not sure that creating a world culture where everybody’s chief end is to successfully create a brand of themselves will translate into creating successful human beings. I think it instead creates a culture that conditions us all to view ourselves as really nothing more than the sum of our parts, and we are, or we should be, more than that.
These are random thoughts, ideas, really, not set in stone, not substantiated, or intended as an exhaustive treatise on the subject. I would welcome any input in the comment section below, pertinent to the subject at hand, that doesn’t reference personal bodily functions, or anything negative about my mother. She’s kind of sensitive. Thanks!