It's Not You, It's Me. Me, And Nobody Else But Me
Social media is simultaneously ruining and enriching our lives.
In China a man recently left his wife due to the little new born fact that their baby was ugly as fuck. Hence, he argued, it could not possibly be his offspring. Nope, the new daddy (not so cool) was obviously a lot better looking then that crinkly little red and small-eyed thing his hard thrusting wife had just popped out. Gosh, his wife had even spent 100,000 dollars on plastic surgery in order to hitch him so he really must be beautiful. Tough situation, but one he quickly solved with filing for a divorce. Nah, one does not exactly have to be a certified psychologist to state that this man obviously suffers from serious self-obsession. As well as a severe case of triple-double assholiness.
This Chinese dude is not alone in feeling as if the image of how life “is”, and how it actually is playing out before you are not the same. We live in a world so “me” focused that selfies are now being taken by everyone from seven year olds posing in front of a mini machine gun at Toys’R’Us, to 70-year-olds snapping a quick pic of their wrinkly faces while mumbling to the follow bus passenger that “it is for the grandkids”. After some fixing in an optional photo app it is then posted on various forms of social media for people to like the shit out off.
No, there is no denying that we live in a society that fosters narcissism, embraces the “self” and encourages people to “love yourself before you can love someone else”. Anne Manne, author of The New Culture of Narcissism, means that the world we are walking our Instagrammed Nike Freeruns around in is more narcissistic then ever.
Manne is right of course, it really is too bloody easy to be a completely self-centred little fellow today. The fine line between wanting to show off your new kicks on the playground at school, or wanting people to like your latest eyebrow plucking, is crossed. One could go as far as saying that the narcissistic life a lot of us lead, thanks to technology and social media, has made it so that we no longer know for sure if something is good enough unless someone has told us so. Maybe one could interpret it as if we are trying to create an image so much life itself is falling behind. As Manne says that it is a very precise self, “it is a self on display, measured by externals and appearance, in pursuit of success and material prosperity more than care for others, of popularity and notice more than respect.”
Yeah, so one might put in here that not all peeps are hibernating over the white and blue page, but as FB has more then 1.1 billion users worldwide it is fair to say that a shit load of people do. Many have a fairly healthy balance (as in not looking at FB while having coffee with a friend but before we put our head on the pillow) but many do not. And yes, it is problematic when that instant validation after having showed off your latest Bali-bender becomes more important then reading a highly interesting article about hummus making.
They who scroll up and down about 400 times an hour really are giving a little part of their day (life) into either posting about their “epic fishing trip” or alternatively seeing a photo of someone’s pouting face. Understandable, and lovable procrastination from real life while slaving away at work, yes. But as clinical psychologist Dr David Collins said in a recent Vogue article, ”the narcissist’s sense of identity is highly reliant on the feedback and validation of others... Social media can be like an IV drip for someone with narcissistic tendencies, offering an ongoing ‘line’ of positive social feedback.” Put shortly: Tweeting = crack.
So yeah, while there’s nothing wrong with some self-love, the self- obsession caused by social media is a bit tedious. When a little bit too much time of someone’s day is about finding the right Instagram filter for their selfie maybe that is a bit…wrong. But yeah I know, I’ve done the Instagram thing too (duh) so I know it is great entertainment on the bus. If you read this and have seen my selfies, yes I will probably post another one in a while. I can also share with you all that at the moment Nashville is the one that evens my yellow skin tone out the most.
But the point is that our society is nowadays so focused on the imagery of life, then the actual life, that “if it’s not on Facebook it hasn’t happened”. And if no one likes your new profile pic of you posing with an elephant in your new Bali-bought bikini you probably are the fat bastard you thought you were. If no one writes comments telling you what a “GODDAMN BABE YOU ARE YOU BABE” risks are you probably aren’t one. Ihhh. Well hello there body dysmorphia, let the self doubt in.
I guess the other side of the coin is that social media also adds to our lives. It makes us share things we love, funny clips, and images off tiny kittens that could melt the hearts of a million concrete workers in a second. It is just when you find yourself thinking more about updating people about what it is you are doing then actually doing it that it is a major problem. As a clever man once said, “the world spins…but not around you”.
By Nathalia Lindvall