Social Media and Self Image
Posted by J Russell
People have mentioned to me that the blog is not writing much lately. Well the truth is, Ive been busy; busy with my messy life that frequently seems to involve more than one person should have to deal with. And when I look around at my contemporaries I see they are pretty much the same. They are leading their own frantic lives, trying to keep their heads above water, just. And I am lucky, because the people I know dont tend towards this insidious tendency: to make out that their lives are some sugar-coated, pink and fluffy version of how things are. They pretty much tell it like it is and I am grateful for that, because I value it.
But that is not the norm these days I know. The norm seems to be all about promoting our self image, in the manner of a celebrity but without a PR such as Max Clifford. Now we write our own headlines. Perhaps we will enjoy the moment more, feel the emotion more deeply if we share it widely with the hundreds of ‘friends’ online – post a picture, concoct a line. Some may say, well that is the pot calling the kettle black – you lay yourself bare on the blog. And maybe that is correct, but I like to think that if I sit down and write something and share it, it is something I have thought through in more than a minute. It is something I have reflected on and want to contribute and share. I hope it is not merely a I am scratching my arse status. And I am not dissing Facebook or Twitter. They have their place and I use them. Sometimes I like them. But what I do not like is the element of self promotion, when the only product to promote is oneself and oneselfs doings. I like sharing. I like sharing links and photos and thoughts, but I dont need to know what someone had for tea last night. I just dont.
The communal non-fiction, that transmute into collective fictions of our daily lives, that we compulsively Tweet and Facebook has become claustrophobic at best and oppressive at worst. Look, look, look at me the status updates cry. My life is cool. My life is photogenic. My life is at least as good (if not better…) than yours.
The best real-life, person to person advice I had last week was: Dont panic and carry on. I might have preferred the reverse: Panic and dont carry on, but where would that get me? It would make a Tweetier Tweet though, one that might cause a ripple of concern in the online sorority.
But whilst I am trying to work out what I object to (and the truth is Im still not sure) I will temporarily conclude with this.
Social Media Objection #1 Are these sites largely platforms for self-announcement? And are they becoming increasingly competitive, showy, and brash; a bit like online Keeping Up with the Joneses? Whilst everything has its place, lets not reduce the richness of life to what can be shared in a few lines on a social networking site.
*puts on tin hat*
*retreats to shed*