Social Media, Attention Whoring and Selfie Sticks

It’s no secret that the internet has changed the way humans interact with each other. Nowadays, children attend school with the omnipresent and inescapable reality that everything they do can and will be archived in an online database. Phones have become cheaper than food in many third world countries, which presents a horde of complications—on a scale of which humanity hasn’t yet encountered.

I can remember rushing home to my family’s gargantuan desktop computer one sunny day in grade 5. MSN Messenger had just entered my life, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that I was talking to my friends without using a phone or my voice in any way. I immediately made a ton of new online acquaintances (AKA pretend friends), and the experience changed the way I perceived ‘play dates’.

For instance, while walking home with a friend, who lived two blocks from my house, we agreed to hang out. Naturally, we both fled to our respective homes and started typing misspelled hilarity to one another.

I think the advent of Instant Messaging wowed me more than others, as I found myself in large chat rooms repeatedly typing “This is so kool, I can’t believe we’re doing this.” Needless to say, constructive debates about the world outside the bubble I lived in rarely commenced.

Today, I find myself on the opposite end of things. My interest in social media has soured in recent years, to the point where a quick scroll through my Facebook news feed can seriously dampen my mood. “Bobby, nobody is going to view the 356 pictures you took during your visit to Thailand. Cute Bengal Tiger, though. I hope the zoologists are humane.” “No, Jenny, I don’t give a shit that you’re at the #Beach with your #Besties soaking up some #Rays. #Graythoughtsforya #WordPress #SelfPromotion.”

I can’t be the only one who looks at Twitter and sees a collection of self-obsessed showboats plugging a bunch of crap that only they find interesting. It’s because of this that I find the whole hashtag system mind-numbing. In the good ol’ days, if someone wrote about anything, they’d just write about it and let the readership respond with their wallets or words. Now, more than ever, what you say isn’t as important as how you promote it. Any moron can Tweet: “Had a gewd day at da pewl with da bae #pool #sun #friends #brews #fun #filter #instagram #sunsoutgunsout #loveyouforevergurl” and get 15,000 likes, depending on his online presence. Meanwhile, people who realize that nobody really cares about their trip to the Grand Canyon can Tweet an insightful observation about the raw beauty of nature and, if they don’t attach 30 hashtags to it, will generate four likes.

Yes, this is all cynical, but it’s how I feel.

Which brings me to God’s gift to tourists and bros everywhere: the Selfie Stick. The other day I was in a store and saw the newfangled device. I muttered to my friend “go ahead, buy it and be one of those people,” thinking that he shared my views on the subject. Instead, he lashed out at me, saying that “people LOVE to see themselves in anything. If I were to go on a trip to Europe, Asia, or sunny Detroit, I would totally use it in all situations.”

Now, mythological reader, before I administer my view on these sticks, please note that this is merely my opinion. I can see why many love the Selfie Stick, and the Selfie craze itself. What I don’t like, however, is people needing to see their own face rather than the sunset or natural phenomenon that serves as their picture’s background—which is always more interesting.

Sure, get a stranger to take a picture of you in front of some rich guy’s awesome boat, or a weird-looking plant, but don’t pollute every picture with evidence that all you really care about is meeee. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing pictures of pretty ladies and my friends, but the fact that so many of these pictures are taken with the sole intention of letting the world know how awesome you think you are is lame.

Advents like the Selfie Stick prove that the world is rewarding humility less and less these days.

Maybe it’s just because I grew up with a lot of love in my life, and that I have so much support from family and friends in whatever I do, I’ve never had the inclination to prove my awesomeness online.

Or, maybe I’m just a huge hypocrite that’s chosen to do it using a blog instead.

(Submit equally witty and thought-provoking sign off here)

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