There are certain degrees of hypocrisy and narcissism involved in posting a status update. For one, it’s intended for an audience. That makes it an egotistical pursuit, because ultimately, the point of a status update is to attract attention and to gain recognition. Ultimately, we are doing something for show; we are exhibiting ourselves as a commodity, a personality online. There are aspects of ourselves we attempt to capture with profile photos, banners, and interests. We filter ourselves through keyboard, through deliberate selection and manipulation, into something presentable. We are constantly upholding this image of ourselves. Somehow, being your “self” becomes a thing, an activity that demands time, attention and authority. Somehow, being natural requires effort and consideration. It’s like if we have to think about our next breath, our next footstep. Everything we say, everything we do is calculated, performed and delivered in a manner that we approve of.
We are eager to share our “selves” with the world. We do this every day. Every hour. Every half an hour. Every minute. We check on our computers, on our phones. We are busy spending quality time with our mobile device. How many times we touch that thing in a single day? Somebody should do a study.
Every day we do this. We dedicate a large portion of our selves (and our time) to a virtual reality, to something intangible, something we cannot even touch, something we don’t keep in our minds. What’s the last status you have liked today on Facebook? Most of us wouldn’t even remember. If that’s the case, what’s the point?
It’s our digital comfort food. I think Facebook emerged and entered a generation of insecurity and questionable self-worth. An online profile gives us full control. We choose the content of our profile. We choose what aspects of ourselves to present to the world. We choose who are able to interact with us, to participate in our online virtual lives. Not only that, we can change our words however and whenever we see fit. Or we can delete our words. We can delete our regrets.
There. Perfect control. Because perfect control doesn’t exist in real life. It’s something we desire, something we strive for even though we know it cannot be achieved. We cannot relinquish control, because control gives us security, and security gives us confidence, and confidences gives us worth. And worth, well, is worth everything.
It’s inside of us. Inside of our DNA. We want to be ourselves. We want to be in control. We don’t want to feel insecure, self-conscious, powerless. And Facebook gives us that opportunity. Facebook gives us that security, that power. It gives us the illusion that we are close together, when we are growing further and further apart. Social media and such technology thrives on our loneliness. It thrives on our desire to be close, to be genuine and self-expressive. Its convenience has lured us, fooled us and exploited us. It has captured us with its grasp. It’s like a drug, an obsessive compulsive disorder, an addiction. The only thing that shackles us is our “selves”. Our habits, our desire for safety, our ego.
In time, we’ll be hanging out with holograms, which are exactly what they sound like: “hollow”-grams. Hollow, digital, anti-social.
Because that’s who we are. That’s what we are becoming. We are hollowing ourselves out, becoming holograms. In time, to each other, we will be nothing but ghosts on a screen.