How Social Media’s Mind Fuck Exceeded All Expectations
At Our Expense
Lately — I’ve been trying to examine whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue being engaged on the only two social media platforms of choice — Twitter and Instagram.
I gave up Facebook almost two years ago — because I stopped enjoying the experience and quite frankly hated the idea of relying on it so heavily when it came to family members abroad. There was something cold-hearted about “clicking” and “posting” as opposed to just calling and indulging in the connection that is supposed to humanize relations in ways — that can’t be replicated with chat portals.
The ongoing controversy with Facebook and how users were duped into thinking that their precious data was protected when all the while they were being seriously violated by the social media giant — isn’t all that shocking.
How can we imagine that Facebook and all the other competitors aren’t robbing us blind in their need to “service us better” by discreetly manipulating our innermost and outermost desires with a little help from our digital bank. So of course grabbing and storing our phone records that detail anything and everything about those sessions is “to help you find and stay connected with the people you care about.”
But as some of us have already figured out — the notion of “staying connected” isn’t nearly as appealing as it sounded a decade ago. In fact that phrase is repulsive in its utter betrayal of the human spirit. The actual truth is that after indulging in a plethora of platforms that end up emptying the characteristics that we absolutely need to survive — you come full circle in the reality of just how disconnected you are to the people you used to care about.
There’s also the disharmony that forms when a lot of us are fighting for air — in a space that was meant to slowly suffocate us.
Instagram is the easiest one of all to handle — which is a frightening conclusion when you consider how the devastating themes of fakery and corruption overrule any hopes of authenticity. And yet — I’m unable to retrieve myself from the grasp of hapless users — who can’t avoid the temptation of daily selfies and the meaningless hashtags that are required for currency through a nation that was formed to uphold and elevate the mannerisms that ought to be extinct.
Twitter has been the pool that I’ve agreed to wade in and I try hard as fuck to stay in the shallow end so that there’s no threat of drowning with the rest of them. By them — I mean the ones who’ve been assigned the blue check — hundreds of thousands of followers — and the non-stop adulation that will make your head swell beyond recognition.
I’ve seen it happen and now I’m witnessing how it destroys ordinarily good people who knew themselves before Oprah and Ava DuVernay tweeted about them in the most magnificent way. When you get those endorsements in such a public forum — it’s mighty hard not to believe how great you are — and how being that great gives you permission to dishonor others without any reservation.
I guess — after learning the lesson of social media 101 — I’m not quite sure I want to keep navigating a territory that has already fucked me over.
We’ve all been mind fucked by systems that were designed to create a world that not only doesn’t exist — but should never have been instituted in the first place.
When I think about life before I could ever fathom clicking my way through love connections and familial strife — I’m amazed at the simplicity of the struggle — that always demanded a presence of mind without the distraction of overtime labor — trying to ensure that those numbers don’t dip to a new low.
There was also the respectability factor that applied to each of us who came in contact with one another — and it had zero to do with numbers. You had to show up without the additional pre-screening that is done though the handles you provide — beforehand.
We used to be given the chance to prove ourselves in the most valiant way and those moments either made or broke us — but more importantly they gave us the ability to interpret relationships based on the energy in the room or the residue we left behind. When you looked into someone’s eyes — you could see and feel emotions that could lead to life-affirming episodes.
You had to work hard. You had to toil and sweat to garner the approval of those who did the exact same thing before you — and therefore know the real deal when they view it. You couldn’t just spew out viral videos or verses and then suddenly land on the cover of New York Magazine.
Nothing was fast and easy — it was a slow and earnest climb to the top — and during that process of growth — there were no cheerleaders hailing your enviable attempts or the vast spaces to boast about the little you’ve accomplished so far — and how much more you’re certain you will attain with a little help from retweets and clicks.
We’ve been mind fucked into believing that our worst selves is all we need to sustain the momentum that will eventually crash and burn way before we even comprehend how fast we’re descending. The power in numbers and how they validate our fantastical existence is a tragic and cruel joke that is just now unfolding.
You think you’re still the same person you were before the culture of over-indulgence and the zinger of social media stardom became “a thing” — but I’m here to tell you that you’re mistaken.
You’re not as content or fulfilled as you used to be and you’re definitely not as genuine and accessible to those who aren’t hooked on your drug of choice. You’re not as down-to-earth as you once were and in actuality you’ve become quite bitchy. You’re overly reliant on the stats — and spend countless hours analyzing whether or not it proves that you’re slipping back to human mode.
The truth is that you’re gaining the emptiness of a bot.
You can revert back to the lowlier status when nobody really knew your name or cared too much about the victims you publicly shame for the benefit of trolls and more fame — but that would mean dying and being reborn.
That’s exactly what it will take to get us back on track and exorcise the demons that are unconquerable when we submit to being social without the connection — that doesn’t demand being tricked into inhabiting a universe that was rigged for our imminent downfall.
The bastards won! And not only that — they exceeded all expectations — which says a lot about the frailty of the human condition when you visualize all these specialized platform as cancers — that spread rapidly — showing no mercy and eventually infecting us to the point of no return.
I have been pondering how to keep myself mentally healthy and free from the symptoms that look dreadfully and hideously unkind — not to mention potently vile — as humans that succumb to the worst of it — inevitably lose their minds and bodies.
They transform into data and are virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the victims.
Suddenly — dying and being reborn doesn’t sound so terrifying.