Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of More Followers
Undoubtedly, with the tech generation comes new ways of interacting with each other, our devices and the level of involvement with online social media. The core platforms we use for our online network grow in user base every year. What began as a way of staying connected has evolved into a major part of our lives.
Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a blog, there is an ability to create a profile for ourselves that become an intensely curated version of how we want to be perceived. This establishes a psuedo-social paradox we engage in between who we are and who we want to be. It makes sense when self-aggrandizement is overly encouraged and can lead to more attention for anyone, at any age, anywhere in the world than it ever possibly could have. What once was reserved for an interesting segment of celebrities – the Hiltons or Kardashians – is now not only available but also completely attainable for anyone with a smartphone.
Somewhere along the line of a facade, the number of followers became hallowed. The objective: get as many as possible. They can be strangers, robots, or loved ones but in all honestly, we prefer when they are in large numbers.
There is a thrill in being the center of a screen, although it may not be silver, we explore it with every picture we post, playing with the voyeuristic nature of the game. But that is the idea; it’s the network, making connections and expanding to new social circles.
In fact, there is a delicate art in getting more followers without seeming like you’re trying to hard to do so. Today, being thirsty has nothing to do with your state of hydration. It’s the desire for others and attention whether that be genuine or a couple of double taps on an Instagram post until the numbers arise to boost your ego.
Yet at the same time, opportunities that could have never existed to young entrepreneurial minds are encouraging a surge of self-starting and DIY ideas than ever before. Anyone can explore the beautiful experience of being a photographer on Instagram or a writer on Twitter and actually reaching a potentially worldwide demographic with one wisely chosen #hashtag or lucky celebrity repost. This is a monumental possibility that should be appreciated and seized. We have a mostly free platform that can launch, promote, and potentially turn any idea into a lucrative business or widespread exchange of information. It may be cliché, but this is the L.A. Dream at the very least; the possibility to slip from being anyone to someone overnight. Who doesn’t want that?
The line between staying in touch with friends or posting fun pictures from your weekend and something much more has progressively blurred. We have entered a time were exes are cropped from profile pictures and employers include Facebook in background checks. With the inception of the word catfish into the 2014 Meriam-Webster dictionary a new world of deceit was unveiled.
A transformation between documenting and creating has begun.
Most people have engaged in some sort of online relationship using social media and without undermining the truly wonderful experiences selectively made possible there and the excitement that the new technology of staying connected constantly brings; we are unfortunately sacrificing real life experiences for a digital portfolio of expertly filtered selfies.
The expectation to have a developed online presence is huge and maintaining activity is important. The irony in it didn’t happen unless you posted it is no longer satirical.
So in our spare moments we occupy our idle minds and look down at our devices for a quick check on new updates or friend requests.
Truthfully, most of us are stuck in a stalemate between gaining and loosing attention, never quite making the elusive status of trending. Still persistent we will continue to try because our white picket fence is digital and has its own geotag.
It’s easier to just mindlessly scroll than engage in an awkward conversation with a stranger so human interaction is hampered by an online presence. The result is a very precarious social climate for a generation that is fully engaged in the online milieu and the possibility of feeling more confident in your online role than your day-to-day person is very real.