Social media’s post- modern chicken/egg dilemma:
Which came first; the scene or the iPhone camera to shoot it? Did the photographer earnestly capture that goop-covered-fist-raised ending pose of some dumb chump with a cheesy grin crossing the finish line of a Tough Mudder race, or did he or she have to fake it for the sake of a cool Instagram post? More bluntly, did he or she merely “Do it for the Vine”?
Our Facebook friends tell us that if we didn’t share a particular priceless moment on any social media outlet, it didn’t happen – for the entire limitless invisible universe we call “The Internet” is interested in knowing exactly what we are doing at all times.
This is why we find ourselves staring at pictures of that random guy’s Chinese food takeout. The owner of this Instagram account actually believes that you, as the “follower”, care about what he had for lunch. His day is made better with every “like”. Your “like” is validating his existence.
It’s ultimately a monstrous waste of time, for snapping photos of everything one sees, eats, and wears requires one’s smartphone to eternally live in his or her back pocket. The constant tweet crafting and Facebook Profile Pic planning, while helping the human prove that his or her life is meaningful, actually distracts away an unhealthy portion of the human’s life – especially the teenager’s.
A teacher named Tracie Schroeder recently tweeted, “In 16 years of teaching, I can’t think of anything that has ever disrupted my classroom more than today’s @snapchat update.” (@bravesearth)
It isn’t news that a group of young people raised in a world of instant messaging and instant gratification have limited attention spans. But the introduction of SnapChat has only multiplied the distractions for kids who are already distracted by their phones.
Teenagers who would’ve once spent their evenings with their heads down ingesting the contents of a book have been replaced by students with heads and hands extended upwards to catch the perfect Snap Chat studying selfie – only to then religiously monitor who has opened it.
Lost in the only cyber world they’ve known, adolescents are slowly subconsciously placing more value on the sharing of an event than the actual participation of the event. Just go to any concert and you’ll find an entire floor crowd of brace-faced 18 year olds, standing still; brightly colored rectangles held high over their heads.
I recently told a young female coworker that instead of “liking” her Instagram post as she asked me to, I would instead march up to her face and tell her in person, “I like your photo.”
She just rolled her eyes.