Social media has come to dominate society’s spare time. Rarely do I see someone just sitting and looking at the world around them without a mobile device in their hand. I am a huge fan of everything zombie and I never thought there was any chance of a zombie epidemic, but I was wrong, along with everyone else that rejected the idea as nonsense. Modern society is creating a world full of mindless zombie’s shambling through life with their heads down and their attention focused on a barrage of mainly meaningless data. I can’t tell you how many times I watch someone walking towards me while focused on their phone and I have to make my way around them because they don’t realize I am even there and would run into me if I hadn’t.
I am not excluded from this technological evolution of humanity and find myself trying harder and harder to just say no to this addictive behavior. I too have to fight the urge to become a mobile device zombie and achieve different levels of success depending on my mindset at the time. I notice several things during my on and off relationship with social media and I believe you will find they are all too familiar.
Social media empowers people to act, or interact, in ways they probably wouldn’t in face to face conversation. Hiding behind online personas allows people to disguise their true self, but often reveals insight into the very thing they are trying to hide. You don’t have to be a psychology professor to understand that people often expose their weaknesses or fears by over compensating for them or being defensive about them. We hide behind psychological masks that intuitive and perceptive people can see through and it is rare to create a mask or persona that fools everyone.
Posting on social media sites is like jumping into a pool full of sharks. People are quick with a hateful comment to differing opinions or questions deemed “stupid”, and there are very few positive things posted. The myopic and petty behavior witnessed on some platforms, such as the ever volatile Facebook, is staggering and showcases society’s hate and pervasive negativity. Hate and negativity are nothing new, people have warred since the beginning of humanity, but today’s social media platforms have made it easier to portray that dark side globally and instantly.
Social media makes it easy to give opinions and make your voice heard, but it seems a lot of those people giving opinions are not very at good at dealing with contradicting viewpoints or constructive criticism. Common sense and logical thinking take a backseat to emotion and self-centeredness which instigates hostility and aggression when another dares to challenge their viewpoint. It has become a platform for picking fights and attempted bullying. I say attempted bullying because bullies never know the intelligence or communication ability of the person they are attempting to bully. Removing the physical aspect of bullying opens bullies up to harsh consequences of picking on someone more intelligent.
I think a bigger question about social media is, who cares? What makes people think their opinion matters to anyone but themselves anyway? Is narcissism so rampant that everyone considers themselves popular social icons whose status updates and matter of fact opinions provide the world a greatly needed service? Where is the culture of kindness and support so many people supposedly guided by a moral or spiritual compass claim to have? The odds of winning would be very high if you were to gamble that many people spewing hate and discontent and who are quick with a negative word show up at their chosen place of worship on Sunday and defend their behavior as being “only human” instead of taking responsibility for their actions and changing their behaviors. Failure to change behavior after identifying behavior deemed wrong, inappropriate, or destructive by the individual, whether through religious, moral, or personal integrity highlights character weakness and lack of self-discipline with maybe a sprinkling of plain old asshole mixed in too.
This article is no exception, you have the choice to read it, or not, and to comment on it as you see fit. Your comments, should you choose to share them, will simply either validate or contradict the presented information from your perspective; emotion is not part of the equation. This post is merely a visual representation of my thoughts and opinions and an exercise of my right of free speech. One might see this article as cynical, but it is merely the documentation of observed processes. Not all people are bad or have a dark side, but if you do, social media can bring it out and blur the lines of morality and decency.
Living in a world dominated by social media and unfiltered online personalities seems to contradict modern views of tolerance, acceptance, and integrity and provides a canvas for painting the darker side of society’s psyche. It’s like the cursed mirror in my story, Reflection of Truth, that shows people what they really look like behind their psychological masks instead of their physical appearance. Social media creates a construct for generating horror stories and rampant narcissism supported by dishonesty and misrepresentation that I use for inspiration for some of my stories. Social media will continue to provide material for authors of all genre’s and continue to bring out the best and worst of people.
As I age, I find myself in a catch 22 concerning social media. Personally, I want to stay away from social media, but it is a great way to preserve the memories of our adventures, especially since the era of the physical photo book has long passed except to the nostalgic. Sometimes I just find things that appeal to me and I want to share them with others in hopes they can brighten someone’s day somehow. Additionally, as an author, social media is an important and necessary marketing tool, which forces me to try to maintain several sites on multiple social media platforms, unsuccessfully I might add because of my internal fight to stay away from them. The customer base available through multiple social media platforms is staggering which creates potential for large volume sales and worldwide marketing exposure.
Harnessing the business power of social media is imperative in today’s business environment because that is where millions of people are looking all day, everyday. That still makes me a slave to social media, and an unwilling one at that, which foot stomps how powerful the effect of social media is on modern society and how ingrained it is in our every day lives. Social media is here to stay and part of our social DNA that will shape communication and human interaction for generations to come and continue to perpetuate the emerging zombie apocalypse.