Before I start preaching let me tell you that my hand is raised guiltily in the air for you all to see.
Okay with that being said, lets talk about social media addiction. Lets talk about our culture’s need to SHARE! Why do we need to share? Why is it so appealing?
I check my social media platforms of choice very often throughout the day. It’s as if not checking them would leave me susceptible to missing out on vital information. In my head, I know it’s ridiculous. I know that no real emergencies are going to occur because I didn’t refresh my newsfeed one last time before putting the car in drive. I know that urgent messages from close friends will be relayed to me through more personal avenues of communication. I know that 98% of what’s on the feeds of my sites will be useless junk that I won’t care about. But I still do it. Why?
I’m not an expert or anything. I’m just a regular person. I’m the Superhero of Imperfection, remember? So here are some of my imperfect theories:
1) We crave information. We live in the age of information, after all, where pretty much anything we could want to know is only a google search away. Our eyes want candy, our brain wants candy, but our lazy selves don’t want to actually think very hard. So we pacify our hungry bored eyes and our hungry bored brains with photos of cats wearing birthday hats and an update on a high school acquaintance’s relationship. It’s as if we all have a very mild case of ADD and social media is the therapy that gets us through the day peacefully.
2) We are interactive creatures. The difference between watching television and social media is interaction. I become a participant in the content I am reading when I am on social media. For this very reason, I believe that television that we are used to is going to be replaced gradually with video sharing sites like YouTube. Because on YouTube, not only is the content made by users like us, but we also have the ability to choose the videos we watch, comment to the makers, and even reply to videos with our own “reaction” video. We want our information interactive, and we want it interactive now! (Because we are spoiled little information lovers.)
3) Proof. We all feel like we’ve got something to prove. We’ve got someone to impress. Our scientific little selves live in a culture where the “Prove it” motto is taught in kindergarten on the playground when Johnny brags about how quickly he can cross the monkey bars. Prove it, Johnny, or we’re not impressed. You have a cute baby? Prove it, Martha, or we’re not impressed. You have a lot of friends and feel generally satisfied with your life? Prove it (insert generic name here) or we are NOT impressed!
I did something cool today but I can’t tell you what it is because it’s the type of thing that just shouldn’t be shared with the general public online. You will never guess, so don’t try. Seriously. But anyways, while I was doing this really cool (legal, might I add for the benefit of the NSA’s lurking eyes) thing, I took a really great photo. And I mean it was really great. I really enjoy photography, so when I am proud of a photo I took, I really want to share it. So not only did I do a really cool thing, but I also took a really cool photo. And I can’t share them. And somehow I feel like I didn’t quite do them. Because I haven’t had it validated by a bunch of people online, I have an empty little spot in the gratification section of my brain.
And that is just pathetic.
That’s where we stand.