Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Harmful Self Esteem Boost of the Internet

I've blogged on the Internet 2.0 Me-Me-Me side evident now with the Internet. It's an enabler of the self absorption of modern folks. This is an actual problem in our current society as people do not understand that being a proper citizen is not just looking out for yourself. There are responsibilities to being a citizen, recognizing where your country's total interests lie and how you fit into that. French protests over the increase to the retirement age to 62 (from 60), is an example of this selfishness. The protestors do not understand that to make the whole system continue, they have to give 2 more years back to society before they start their slow, steady drip of pension payments. The self centered behavior of so many people is amplified by the funnel effect of social media websites, twitter, tumblr, youtube and even internet dating websites.

There are positives to these applications and platforms. The ability to connect and share information are two great effects. The downside is that a lot of people start feeling like they are rock stars. No, you are a normal person, and that is OK. Just because 25 people 'like' a status update does not make you special. When in college, a professor told me that the tough transition for so many idealistic college students is when they hit the real world, find out they are normal people who can do great things, but realize they are not going to be President, rock star, great inventor, etc. Some people crumble as that reality hits them, and they fail to take risks or face challenges because the big prize is not there. They don't reach the limits of their potential because they now know their potential doesn't include mass fame or fortune. Others have Walter Mitty level delusions that they dive deep into. The internet enables this.

The clearest example of this I see on a day to day basis is the non-stop attention and self esteem boost of any single, semi-attractive woman through their internet applications by the mindless, idiotic men who give attention to any woman who have a decent picture to share. The unending small likes and comments continuously boost people's perception of their own value. This creates monsters. South Park handled this wonderfully in "The List", as the ghost of Abraham Lincoln explains that beautiful people don't develop character, and that ugly people have to work hard for things earning later rewards. This is true as beauty is fleeting in a society that values youth so highly. If all a person defines their value is through their perceived beauty, they will face a crushing shock when it goes.

I wonder what will happen to all of these attractive or semi-attractive single women once time creeps up on them. What happens when the stream of picture replies, ;) flirt posts, and 'likes' dry up or are shifted to a younger cute person. As a man, I know that any single straight guy sending a single woman a friend request wants to sleep with them. We're simple creatures with simple motives. When the thousands of tumblr followers that stuck around for your bikini or nude photos find the next hot thing and those numbers dwindle to just your friends, how will your ego withstand the assault? Many people have a midlife crisis, but will the snapback to reality or the sign of a few wrinkles or gravity throw a lot of young women into a 1/3 life crisis? The idea of another X-life crisis ties into the self absorption theme. The world really doesn't care about your little updates and tweets, and you better believe it now. Far better to be honest with yourself and grow from there than to delude yourself and stagnate.

1 comment:

A said...

Today I went into Best Buy and none of the pimple faced creepy fat guys working there seemed anxious to assist me. Either I'm middle aged and not cute anymore or they are gay.