I CAN’T GO thirty seconds into a conversation with my friends, colleagues, family, Poltergeist without hearing from one of them that social media is the worst thing ever invented, that it’s driving people insane and that all it’s used for is sending pictures of penises and tits.
But is it really that bad?
I’m not so sure.
The internet has many, problems.* It destroys attention spans, it’s as addictive as drugs, it even facilitates people’s insecurities and suicides. It’s a cluster fuck of bad shit that when fully taken stock, doesn’t always seem like a good thing.
And all these issues that exist within the internet, are magnified tenfold by the rise of social media. Social media is like the internet’s shittiness on steroids; with way too many cat memes, way too many boring food Instagrams (nobody gives a fuck what you ate!), and way, way too many ‘look at how happy my life is, please regret not fucking me in school’ Facebook profiles.
In fact, yeah, when you look at it, social media is a complete load of shit.
End of article. Please like and subscribe.
But wait, there are a few details that have been overlooked.
ONE BIG SHIT AMPLIFIER
Live on Instagram.
When people talk about their dislike of social media, what they’re usually talking about is ‘social media culture.’ I’m sure everyone would agree that a piece of technology that allows people to connect with their friends and express themselves is fine, and what most people take issue with is simply the way that this technology is used.
As in, used by humans.
So their problem isn’t with social media itself, but simply how much of humanity it exposes them too, and how much they fucking dislike. Because that’s what social media does; it takes everything you like, and everything you dislike about people; all their awful, obnoxious, gouge my eyes out shit and amplifies it to 11.
As humans, we’re wired to have an inherent negativity bias. Mother Nature, in her infinite assholery, decided it was a good idea to craft a species of miserable people who hate each other, instead of something better (like this Beaver) – and as a result, we immediately gravitate towards viewing each other with disdain and dislike, whilst simultaneously viewing ourselves and people like us with affection and sense of superiority and moral justification.
It’s another one of our many cognitive biases, and it is, like most of our opinions, a load a small minded, poorly thought out crap.
Our problem with social media is the way people use it, and the stupidity of their actions (whether that be taking pictures of food, dressing like a Thai hooker, or being a dumb gym rat). But it is exactly the same lack of thought that goes into their actions that cause us to jump to huge conclusions and hatred rather than demonstrate our empathy.
We’re just as dumb as the dummies we hate.
The person taking photos of their food might be vain, insecure, and want people to know about their impressive dining, or amazing diet, in order to feel validated. The girl dressing like a Thai hooker might be young and going overboard in trying to rock her sexuality or might feel like she has to dress that way to get male attention because of her culture. The gym rat might look like a dumb, beefcake moron, but maybe he works out all the time because he thinks that’ll get him female attention, like his mother never gave him, and will make other men fear him because he doesn’t want to be like his timid father.
Who knows? Maybe, there’s more to the story than just your shitty opinion. Maybe there’s less it to than mine. You only find out if you open your eyes.
Shittywaytoexperiencetheworld – I choose you!
Beyond the complexities of human behavior, taking issue with social media’s culture doesn’t really make much sense. After all, who defines culture?
Was it the masses that shaped France, or was it, Rousseau? Or was it the greed of their ruling class? Was it the boredom of the Russian literary elite that birthed communism? Or was it the ideas of thinkers like Marx? Or was it the rage of an entire oppressed class?
There is no one factor that defines culture but an entire body acting as one.
From this standpoint, it becomes clear that just as you can’t remove the flaws from social media (the insecurity, the vanity, and so on) you also can’t remove its positives. As it is one body you must take them both into account.
For every ‘look how good my legs look by the pool’ photo, there’s also a Ferguson, Arab Spring, Delhi Gang Rape, Net Neutrality, Ice bucket challenge, Global Warming awareness, pretty much every time a cop slaughters someone who is innocent that goes viral. A simple search of the most viral content of 2016 shows the top 3 articles are related to Alzheimer’s, OCD and wisdom – useful topics all with millions of shares.
I dunno about you, that seems like a fair trade to me.
Social media, like the internet itself, propagates free speech. Which, if you look at any history book, is clearly the best idea ever. Sure, you have to deal with listening to a few morons, but you also don’t get told what you’re allowed to think, read and say.
To have a culture where ideas of any form, good or bad, can be expressed and each has the freedom be viewed by a potential audience of millions is a massive step in the right direction. The good ideas simply have more potential influence than at any other time in history. In fact, that culture, with all it’s flaws, simply due to the fact that good ideas can propagate with such freedom, is vastly superior to many that exist today – cultures that suppress freedom of ideas and make it clear what can and can’t be discussed.
Turns out that cat meme might not be that bad when compared to a gulag and a boot pressed into your face.
WHAT OUR HATRED SAYS ABOUT US
The way we hate social media often tells us important information about ourselves. When we’re getting our needs met, we tend to not care so much about how other people go about getting theirs.
When we have a high functioning dating life, we don’t really have the time or interest to care about some girl’s picture with a jacked guy on Facebook. But when we’re lonely, sex starved and feeling like we’re never going to meet anyone, suddenly pictures like that can make us feel envious and resentful.
When we’re trapped in a dead-end job, with a shitty commute, and a dream that we’ve left behind, seeing our friend take snaps from the beach and promote their baller lifestyle might really fuck us off; but if we were engaging with our dreams, working a job we love and have a free and active lifestyle, we probably wouldn’t give a fuck.
What I’m trying to say is this:
Whilst we normally look at social media and see what everyone else is doing wrong; it’s actually a good tool for showing us where we’re going wrong.
It allows us to take a look at where our life feels unfulfilled, and then switch off the computer, and go and pursue making ours fulfilled.
After all, sometimes, the biggest window in the external world is actually just an even bigger one in the internal.
It just depends on where you’re choosing to look.
*Like way too much porn, for starters.