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How Social Media Is Charging Too Much For Free Emotions

Or emoticons?

The rumors about Instagram’s decision to hide our inflated or pathetic number of “likes” in an effort to achieve the impossible task of reversing the irreversible, sustained from the allegiance of vulnerable users, who will do just about anything to win those “hearts,” has been recently confirmed, although it will take awhile for it take effect.

Despite the optimistic forecast from trendsetters when calculating the earnest attempts to rewrite the wrongs, that have been amassed to the detriment of impressionable youths, who’ve suffered far worse repercussions— the brutal truth has to be the realization of how trained patterns may not be able to switch off specific addictions.

For me, the ability to hover above the trap doors of suffocating hashtags that are built from the blood, sweat, and tears of countless brand sponsorships, that hold us hostage to the thrill of legions of worshippers, against the backdrop of #bestlives — comes from the residue of an era when boastfulness wasn’t the preferred tool of engagement.

Also, the privacy clause in my negotiations limits the freedom to expose anything and everything in the hopes that my spirited coercion via a vast scrapbook of purposed graphicness, will evoke delighted or empathetic eyes to respond in ways that will reassure the erratic ego.

From the play by play of an A-lister’s wife’s real-time miscarriage that’s captured with dramatic persuasion to the frequent deposits of what the good life looks like when you’ve had the enviable two-week streak of epic selfies, and snapshots at the places that matter.

The other side of being an active user is the exhausting amount of expended energy that’s dedicated to being responsive to demanding posts and tweets that run the gamut of glitzy and downright dreary.

Ironically, the announcement about Instagram’s experiment with removing “likes” coincided with my growing need to stop catering to the robotic clicks that serve as the metered acknowledgment.

Twitter has taught me about the value of being conservative when it comes to giving my heart away at every turn, even when it’s not warranted.

I’ve spent most of this decade, studying human interaction on these voracious platforms, and after exiting Facebook for obvious reasons, I’ve been hanging on to the beastly mechanisms of Twitter and Instagram.

Twitter is all about competition, and the building of threads from active issues that become more cumbersome when the narrative from a misleading headline undergoes renovations, that could lead to the editorial shoutout from five-star outlets.

Cancel culture is also more vibrant on Twitter, and it’s savage when the word spreads, and the mentions of the rich and famous are a cluttered debris of insults from a maddened collective, who are convinced that the target of the moment is more than deserving of public dismissal of the highest order.

I can attest to the misery that settles when the virus of your discontent spreads like wild fire, across the landscape of utter dysfunction that manages to host popups of miraculous events.

I was a nobody when the link to a misguided article that I wrote back in the summer of 2012, received the wrong kind of attention.

It was frightening to be in that gauntlet, and thankfully the nightmare only lasted a few hours. I meekly admitted defeat and offering apologies right up front.

Of course, in this current climate, those harrowing episodes have a longer battery life, and taking the high road in an effort to minimize the damage doesn’t dissuade the furor of assembling disapprovers, who have the time, energy and appetite to eat you alive, and then some!

The one item of value that’s been assaulted and diminished is the privilege of individualism.

While Instagram does tend to inspire users to find innovative avenues of expression that could potentially attract sponsorships that reward the creativity, the vibes of Twitter tend to shame engagers who don’t match the endorsed output of the masses.

God help you if you really do think Ye is a genius and dare to make that sentiment public. And if you’re not at all afraid to tweet about how the controversial last season of She’s Gotta Have It was actually curated to get folks talking based on problematic dialogue between cited characters, then you’re better than me!

We’ve lost the instincts that remind of why healthy debates don’t have to contain R-Rated language and the bat signal that tags the ammunition of blue tickers, who will demolish you with a single meme or gif.

It’s all much too much.

And my takeaway after a decade of engagement is immersed in the normalized fundamental acts of childishness, that’s been resurrected by the tools that nag at our very worst qualities.

I’ve stopped “liking” so much because it’s really not a joyful exercise.

Plus, there are people who follow me, and don’t ever acknowledge my responses. At first it was no big deal, and it actually has never been a bone of contention outside of observing that the ones above and below me with the blue check, tend to get a “like” or a response.

It’s the psychology of how the popular ones can tweet about the joys of peeling an orange, and get blessed with 1,723 red hearts in under a minute, while my heartfelt share about a Congresswomen’s heroic mission to honor her late son’s memory will either remain coldly ignored or garner six bright red hearts.

It’s not about complaining, it’s really the examination of a turbulent public square that’s disturbingly reminiscent of the days of old, as a forming youngster, who never imagined that seasoned adulthood would bring me right back to where I already travelled.

Life is messy, and while we used to complain that it was only the amazing shit getting the spotlight, it turns out that the over-sharing of trigger-worthy content, that’s gives a bird’s-eye to the personal trials and tribulations of emotional followers can be dauntingly invasive.

My mantra for the new decade is to set limitations in regards to the generosity bestowed from my eager fingers across all platforms.

Well, really only Twitter and instagram because that’s all I can afford!

I’ve noticed the difference in my engagement as I implemented the method of not “liking” every and any post or tweet at will.

I feels like some measure of power has been reclaimed, and I tend to skip past the stuff begging for the glowing report or the tweets and threads that are dripping with cosigns from uninformed minds who prefer not to do the thinking.

I need my energy for the things that matter, and to be honest, when your vision is restored, after the blindness evacuates, the only likes you respond to will be the check marks charting the proximity to your humanness.

Emoticons be damned!

Written by

Juggling Wordsmith. I have a lot to say!

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