Everybody Look at Me Saying “Don’t Look At Me” (Thoughts on the Future-Of-Slash-Death-Of Social Media)
I had an interesting conversation with a friend today, regarding whether there will someday be a definitive “burst” to the social media bubble, wherein we all realize:
a.) I’m bored with myself – and by “bored” I mean everything from actually bored to semi-disgusted by my own narcissism to actually fully-disgusted by it.
b.) I’m bored with the people in my life – including the stuff above about being semi or actually-disgusted.
c.) Either social media doesn’t actually help me sell the products I’m trying to sell, or it actually does but the process of doing that (i.e., being That Guy, i.e. the constant posting) isn’t worth it and makes me feel creepy.
d.) “I wonder what happened to the last decade?” which is ironic inasmuch as my social media platforms have given me the vehicle by which to archive the last decade in images, pithy sayings, movie quotes, links, and songs. But by “I wonder what happened to” I mean how might I have redeemed that time minus Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et. al.
Caveat: I’m not just writing this because I hate social media (I do, basically). I’m writing it because I actually like my antiquated link to social media (my blog) and I’m curious as to what you guys think and also I just wanted the thoughts archived someplace.
I told my friend that probably in a decade or so there will be “Social Media Ruined My Life” memoirs and also Oxford-University-Press-Type examinations of social media written from a past-tense perspective. Of course, the past-tense-perspective thing means that either a.) it’s over or b.) there’s something else to replace it.
My friend ruminated that for the first time in ever we have (via social media) the means by which to place a numeric value on the things that people have wondered in high school cafeterias since the beginning of time (post-fall), which is basically, “How much do people like me-slash-how many people like me?”
I responded that the ability to place a numeric value on this is probably going to shipwreck our collective character, regardless of which side of the scale (popular or un) we’re on. And if nothing else, social media is a great revealer of one of our culture’s main idolatries: the praise of men.
We finished by wondering if someday, someone will be able to graciously decline fame. We realized we’d never actually seen anyone do this, as the only options tend to be either completely punk-rocking it and dropping out (see: Salnger, JD) or at least keeping your audience really small OR embracing fame whole hog (see: too many people, Christian or secular, to count including, at some level all of us via social media).
The problem with completely punk rocking it is that you only get one shot at making your point and then after you’ve made it you can’t really make any other points for fear of risking your credibility and being thought a fraud.
We decided, ironically, that it will take somebody really famous (in the right circles) to basically say “I really appreciate all the attention, awards, pats on the back, etc. but with all due respect (and I mean that), stop looking at me and I will in turn stop using my fame to move product.”
Anyway, I give it another decade before we’re left with an emotional black hole where social media used to be (and before all the memoirs and Oxford Press books come out.)