Social Media: Producing idiots or produced for idiots?
There are moments that happen and fade away, that come and stay for a day, when the most enjoyable, indulgent, completely compelling and taking in activity is to watch food making or make-up applying videos. I have those moments, I’m sure you do too. Never have I ever actually ended up cooking that roasted cauliflower and cheddar cheese soup, or went on trying to apply the gold smoky eye make-up after watching it, neither any of that information actually got stuck in my mind for longer than another five minutes.
And yet, for some reason, only now I have come to question: How many of us, who have ever binged on such material, only did it to seize the reality for a bit and balance out the pace of productivity that we are so committed to carry out a huge part of the time? And how many of those whose productivity is centered on carrying out of this material are aware that, to a certain extent, the fruits of their dedication are merely being drained straight into the bottomless attention span gap of some of ours? Even if so, would that change anything? Personally, I guess, it wouldn’t, as it seems to me that such social media material is not always produced out of a sincere care of having meaning, or even an insightful message attached to others. Rather opposite — it usually sounds like it includes all that, but I’m almost sure, what lies beneath is mainly and foremostly self-indulgement into the production of it, and promotion of doing it themselves.
So, is there idiocy amongst those social media activists whose life carry a sense of self-centrism that many of us so thoughtlessly consume? Or is there idiocy in those like me, who consume it sporadically and as soon as a sense of guilt for ‘doing literally nothing’ arrives discontinue the interaction? Or, last but not least, does the idiocy rest within the result of feeling the aforementioned way, which, on the other hand, can be viewed as a safety mechanism for not becoming absent-minded and acts as a natural reminder of limits to getting over-informed before being able to process the amount of acquired data?
First of all, here I am only discussing social media and idiocy that relates to my given examples, which is a production and consumption of the material that can be seen as ‘advisory’, ‘inspirational’, and relates shared experience. I take this perspective as a top part of a number of other structures involved that enable the ambiguous exchange to happen, without delving deeper into how it happened in the first place. For that I recommend a bunch of documentaries that properly address the issue, while here I simply share thoughts that relate to my personal experience being a part of it.
Having that said, what relates to both sides of functioning through and within the social media, is an act of ‘storytelling’. It has always been the case throughout human history, whichever realm of mediation given — to tell and exchange stories, gossip, personal information, external observation. Always. With or without language, in every way we function, we, as humans, always communicate something, and will use any possible means at hand to do so. Therefore, social media is only yet another means to allow that communication to happen. It is particular and has specific characteristics in its own way, for sure, but the idea and the concept of it, especially the very central one, is the same as any ‘medium’ has ever allowed it to be — to tell a story, and in this case — to also encourage stories about itself to being told.
And the most charming and compelling part of it that takes us all in is that social media listens, records, remembers and stores every piece of our most unrational thought we might ever register on it. In regards of recent decade, social media is an ultimate self-indulgent mechanism that praises and promotes ‘an individual’ to its full. It’s so enjoyable, even me here writing this yet another story about it — I can say whatever I want, change it, add some tags to direct it to a specific audience and even share it for others to let them see what I have been thinking about, if I will. And why not?
But will someone else also simply skim through this reading only to forget about it before their safety mechanisms for an overload of some twisted thought turn in? And should I even care about that happening? If there is any idiocy in this social media suggested way to tell and share stories, something that, in different ways, has always been done for one reason or another, then, I can say, we have never been less than idiots all the way. And yet, the only two things I would wish for the contemporary ways of storytelling is thoughtfulness and balance. To think more before sharing, to ask ‘why am I doing this?’ before consuming. And all that jazz.