Look At Me!

I was taking a walk in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago when I saw a group of boys ahead of me, playing in the street on their skateboards.  They were gathered at the top of a rather steep hill, daring each other to be the first to go down.  As I got closer, I debated whether or not I should warn them that I thought the incline was too steep for skateboarding.  I was a stranger to these boys, and I had no idea whether they would listen to me or not, or how they would react to my interference.  Before I could make up my mind, the smallest of them pushed off down the hill, gathering speed as he went.  Predictably, he wiped out about half-way down, although he did manage to veer to the left so that he fell onto the grass rather than the asphalt.  The other boys ran to him, and after making sure he was unharmed, one of them exclaimed, “Wow, I wish I had taped that!  I bet it would get about a million hits on YouTube!”

I supposed I shouldn’t have been shocked by that remark.  After all, these boys have been raised in the era of social media, where people think nothing of posting almost every aspect of their personal lives on the internet, and then sit back to see how many “views” and “likes” each post generates.  So it’s probably only natural that their main reaction to their friend’s accident should be to post it for the entertainment of others.  But I still found it a bit unsettling.

Maybe it’s because I’m mostly an introvert who doesn’t really like to be the center of attention, but I don’t think it’s healthy when people begin to live their lives as if they are constantly on stage.  I don’t think that when something happens to us, our first thought should be that it would make a popular post.  I think that most of the time, we should be content to simply live our life without the need to show it to other people.  (Personally, I don’t want to see a posting of a picture of anyone’s meal, unless it is accompanied by the sincere words, “This tastes great, and if you want me to, I’ll bring you some immediately!”)

Social media can be a great tool for staying in touch with faraway friends and relatives, for getting important information out quickly to those who need to know it, and even for posting those special moments that are truly meant to be shared.  But if we share too much, too often, we run the risk of living our lives as if we are constantly seeking the approval of others for almost everything thing we do, say and believe.  And call me old-fashioned, but I just don’t think that’s a good thing.

36 thoughts on “Look At Me!

  1. I mostly agree with your perspective. I do have a lot of fun posting pictures of Kali on my FB page and Instagram and there have been times when I said to myself, “I wish I would have caught that on video or a picture so I could have posted it”. (Because Kali is the most beautiful and precious thing in the world, right? 🙂 )

    I stopped carrying a camera to events several years ago. Not because my phone can take almost as good a picture but because I realized that when I was at a event, like my son’s wedding for example, I was not experiencing the moment because i was too busy trying to capture those moments “forever”. By leaving the camera behind I made the trade off of not not having the shot for posterity to be able to experience that moment in real time. I’ve not regretted it.

    I’m a sports fan and hate missing a “big game”. But I’ve never been able to record a game and find enjoyment in watching it after the outcome had concluded. This might be an odd analogy but I’ve found that I’d rather enjoy special moments in real time for just a few seconds instead of having the memory recorded that will be available to view later or for years to come.

    Sometimes the pictures that existing only in our minds eye are the best picture we can have “forever”.

    Thanks for another enjoyable and thought provoking post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, of course posts about dogs are okay! LOL! But you know, I made the same decision on the day of my daughter’s wedding. I didn’t take a single picture, because I wanted to actually experience the day, which I wouldn’t have if I had been madly taking photos. Afterwards, I had the professional photos to enjoy, and my friends who took pictures shared them, but there were still some moments that I don’t have an actual photograph of. And that’s okay, because as you say, those photos are in my head!

      Like

      • I know too many people who use Facebook as their way of “feeling” like they are spending time with others. That’s fine when the others live hours away, but when you are ten minutes away from one another? Get off your duff and physically go see someone!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the things I struggle with when it comes to social media (Facebook specifically because that’s all I use besides LinkedIn) is who to accept as “friends”. I like to keep my Facebook circle small and close knit, but sometimes a random coworker that I hardly know sends a friend request. I always cringe because I want to keep my personal life and work life separate with only a few exceptions. Yet I usually accept because I worry they’ll think I’m rude and it will be awkward at work. Then I end up having to censure myself on Facebook, not because I post bad things or rant about work (I don’t), but because I like clear lines between my personal and professional life. Sometimes if I’m posting family thinks I actually exclude those people. Frankly, I don’t know why someone would even want to be friends on Facebook if they hardly know you. LinkedIn is better for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I struggle with that, too! I would prefer that Facebook be kept to people I know well, but it is also the only place where I share my blog, so that means I keep the blog post settings at “friends of friends.” Which is way more public than I want to be with want personal Facebook posts, so I have to be careful to always check that. It’s complicated, that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey! Peeking in to share some thoughts with you. I ran into this at work, too. I didn’t accept friendships from those at work for the same reason you don’t want to do so. Work and private life need to be separate. If you have a best friend at work that’s different, but honestly you owe no one at work any explanation if you choose not to accept them. That said, you can customize your statuses so certain people can’t see what you yourself post. That would be another way to handle having co-workers on your page.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. true words Ann – – everything – including social media – can be used for good or bad – can be taken to extremes – even for me – it becomes a struggle at times…. times change and we all have to I suppose. I think our parents had concerns about us for things – but it does seem more extreme than ever with technology for today’s kids. Wonder what it will be in 20 more years? can it get worse? I don’t even know if we can imagine – eh? When we were kids, we never could’ve imagined all the things a smart phone could do – eh? Will be interesting if nothing else to see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I struggle, too. I love the way Facebook keeps us connected, but I hate the way it makes me feel as if the most important thing is how many “likes” a specific post gets, as though everything is one giant popularity contest. And I do wonder about the generations growing up with everything being posted online. Will they have any sense of privacy at all? I honestly don’t know, but as you say, if nothing else, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out…..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m going to take a shot and reply to this thread seriously as I think Coleman intended and my ambivert nature dictates. Which is not to suggest others’ responses haven’t been substantive. It just that I see communication via “social media” differently than many.

    The fact is, I see this Ann provided forum, the one we participating in right here, right now, as social media. Two is company, any more than that is a social media application.

    That said I’m going to quote myself… from two post last month.

    “I can’t help but feel we are being trained, by the Facebook model, that we are all only aggregators. Collectors and re-routers of magical appearing just on time sentiments, with functional and punctual bon mots, and right on target info graphics capturing the subject of the moment with the bit and byte speed of our zipping by, now sweep secondhand quick, ever changing zeitgeist.

    But blood and bone, breathing in and out human beings manufacture the posts, the content, that you like to, like, boo, dismiss outright or share to thousands. There is no magic to it, nor does it just mythically appear.”

    http://beltwayfanfiction.com/2016/03/17/that-post-in-your-feed-was-most-likely-prepared-by-another-human-being/

    “Many think story telling a basic node of human evolution. And that narrative sharing follows rules within riddles and on purpose round-abouts. That structure gives reason to motive, and laying character bare, while affording a test drive of means and methods, applicable to the particular architecture of a fresh but universal, this-then-that.

    Which ain’t the same thing as:
    post
    post
    post.

    A post is a post is a post, hides a bevy of wonderful sites.”

    http://beltwayfanfiction.com/2016/03/06/the-xs-and-os-of-connecting-the-dots-by-reading-the-numbers/

    I repeat: A post is a post is a post, hides a bevy of wonderful sites.

    Like Ann’s site here. And, I would wager, many of yours. But the aforementioned Facebook model, and some still existing technical and design limitations, have made the isolated share and stare, the narrative equivalent of that lone picture of a delicious entree, a meal in itself. But just a morsel. No more. With out the requisite ambiance, cause and effect, and any motive for that breaking of bread other than a proffered hunger.

    But, hopefully, it’s about to change. Third generation web designers and content providers are trying to adopt a storytelling, in fact a long term story arc type of exchange, to better mimic how we actually, since days of the cave campfires, learn from one another.

    Consider that, when you, a living breathing human being, post that meme that Facebook wants you to believe, just magically appears.

    Regards,
    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember one of the original posts you are referencing here, and I totally agree that it is all to easy to forget that all the memes and posts on Facebook (and blogs) were created by real human beings who probably spent a lot of time and effort in choosing just the right words and photos to get their point across. And how the whole purpose seems to devolve into pursuing the most “views” and “likes”, even in our blogs, which is not what I intended at all. It is a complicated situation that can be more than a little bit frustrating.
      I hope you are right that the new web design that will allow us to communicate in more meaningful ways, as we did before the age of social media and the quick and painless soundbite. Because sometimes I know what I want to say, but not how to say it, and sometimes I simply have no words at all that fit into the quick posting and replying medium we find ourselves faced with today. And I still want social media to be about genuine communication, rather than a quick glimpse of whatever we happen to be doing or thinking at the moment….
      Thanks, as always, for contributing to the conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Especially when we share with the hopes or expectations of getting a lot of positive feedback. I just don’t think we should be so dependent on the constant approval of other people.

      Like

  5. I agree with you, Ann. I just watched a news story where the new thing is apparently making videos of yourself slipping in a banana peel. The potential for serious injury is obviously great but it seems more important for young people to be noticed on social media than doing the smart thing. It’s crazy but it’s how we live in today’s climate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is crazy! I can’t help but wonder what the long-term effects on our society are going to be, especially as this generation grows up to become the adults who are “running things.” What’s going to happen to our sense of privacy, and will whatever gets the most attention and approval (views and likes) always be considered the best thing? It scares me a little.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I’m afraid it’s too late for changing it….. I must admit, in this venue, I enjoy reading some very personal blogs. I follow some folk’s lives and feel I have become friends with them. There are some young people who are introspective and interesting that share very deep thoughts about their lives; there are people suffering with cancer that give intimate and excruciating details about their illness; people handling mental illness who are brave enough to share the inner workings of their mind and then some folks that just simply share their daily life that I’ve become a part of now. So sharing can be a good thing when done not for sensational reasons, but with thoughtful, creative and productive sharing. Then it can heal, connect and widen us people. Just my two cents… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, that kind of sharing, (which in my opinion is real communication, just via the internet) is a good thing. But what I was talking about in this post is the kind of thing where our first question when something happens to us is, “Will this make a good and popular post?” And I don’t think that is a healthy perspective at all. I think the trick is to be discerning about what, and more importantly, why, we share.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I so agree with you Ann, I think social media has done a lot of damage in terms of people constantly seeking approval. A sign of the times unfortunately, I guess all we can do is choose how we use it ourselves and not let it run our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally, I struggle with social media, because I tend to rely too much on other people’s approval, and social media only encourages that. But on the other hand, I like being in touch with old friends and faraway family. So I’m having to learn some management techniques, and sometimes I’m more successful than others!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I recently saw part of a video someone shared–a motorcycle (and, of course, its rider) hitting a dog. I bailed out before I found out how badly they were hurt, but the introduction had a Wow-look-at-this tone that threw me. I don’t like to sound like the old fogy I have the chronological right to be, but what is wrong with these people?

    Liked by 1 person

    • If being appalled when people’s (or animal’s) accidents and pain are considered appropriate entertainment to share on the internet means being an old fogy, then I am most definitely an old fogy! And a bit proud of it, to boot.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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