I recently read an interesting article that invited its readers to abandon social media. When we broached the subject among a small group of friends, a lot of different matters unraveled revealing other interesting bits of information. The conversation arrived at the book Modern Romance written by Aziz Ansari, who, for those who are familiar, is also the screenwriter and actor of the amazing TV show Master of None. This book, which closely examines modern relationships, is not just limited to Ansari’s hilarious observations, but also includes opinions and latest findings by experts from the fields of psychology and sociology. According to this book, the new generation (or the ‘millennials’) has major issues with spontaneity. Instantaneous talents such as responding cleverly to an insult, making a point, or cracking a befitting joke for a certain situation, have been observed to be inadequate in young people when compared to the prior generation.
It was therefore determined that exactly due to this reason the new generation prefers messaging over talking face-to-face. The cause is quite clear: you can wait as long as you want before you write back to someone, asking friends for advice and even pondering about how they would reply to different responses.
Some members of the newer generation around us might be different and not fit into this generalization. But it’s clear that there is a wide group of young people from all over the world that fit into this category. They’re the most frequent users of social media. One can imagine how they spend hours tailoring the most perfect online representation of themselves. But you can also determine their longing, curiosity, and fear from a small comment, look, or action. There are so many pubescents that want to become famous or rich (if possible both) in the future…That’s what it means to choose to be imprisoned by the artificial limits of a limitless world. Perhaps it’s not having the courage to be oneself within the triangle of assimilating, assenting, and being liked.
If you ask me where social media lies in all of this, I say it’s the heart. Just like Cal Newport stated, the concept of ‘branding,’ which used to only concern big budget companies, has now become a concern for all of us due to social media. For a while now, all of us have been obsessed with exhibiting our voices and images through a social media channel of our choice. We’re in an era where no one takes each other too seriously, and those who make the most noise have the most followers. The masterwork of our calculated and self created identities, the minute details, the photos with the best lighting, practiced and perfected smiles – even for those of us that aren’t ‘millennials’! We have lots of time to show off our ‘best’ selves, to express ourselves ‘as effectively’ as possible, and write the ‘smartest’ comment. And so it seems that the new generation won’t be much inclined to change anything about this situation.
Somewhere inside we’re quite aware that if we have to work on ourselves in order to convince other people, it’s certainly not natural or genuine. We’re probably not as good as we thought and not as bad as we feared. While all of us have so much interesting and unique talent to share with others and the world, doesn’t our desire to show and be seen, our worry to fit into 140 characters as cleverly as possible, to use those precious moments in our lives to collect likes instead of living them through the heightened beats of our hearts, turn us all into tragic heroes that garner sympathy through their sorrow…