We live in a world where everyone puts their achievements on public display. This parade of achievements reinforces our need to live in accordance with the cultural model of excellence, which leads to various negative consequences.
Vanity and status concerns
In the case of a platform like Facebook, the first indicator of status was whether you were in a relationship. Options included “Single”, “In a relationship”, “Everything is difficult”, “Engaged (a)” or “Married”. Thus, we are divided into categories and placed in lists.
This is followed by a number of friends, likes, reposts and comments. The toxic effect of quantifying every aspect of our humanity is now nothing more than a product characteristic on most social media platforms.Using “hearts” as the main indicator, Instagram makes people allow people to combine attention with love. To top it all, the attractive design of all these products preys on the vulnerability of the human brain to dopamine-driven feedback loops.
Each social media platform has a hierarchy.
• People who have a high status must continue to feed the beast in order to maintain their status
• Those who have no status continue to feed the beast in the hope that they will eventually become those who have the status
The status potential makes people lose sight of the fact that the creators of these platforms may care less about your status. As you continue to feed the beast, it allows them to get more of your attention, which they pack and sell to advertisers.
Cultural Models of Excellence
“We live in an era of perfection, and perfection is the ideal that kills. Social networks, pressure to have a perfect body or to be successful in a career, as well as other ways by which we place excessively high expectations on ourselves and other people - all this createstoxic psychological environment. - Will Storr "Selfie: how we became obsessed with ourselves and what we do with us"
Creating a social hierarchy makes it easy to strengthen cultural models of excellence. As the cultural model of excellence is strengthened on a daily basis, our concern for status increases. We are made to feel inferior to some extent. Someone is always in front of us, anyway, which leads to the inevitability of comparison and forces us to feed the beast in the hope that we will gain popularity, which is nothing more than an illusion created for the sake of profit.
At first glance, our dependence on social networks and digital forms of endorsement seems harmless. However, the further we go down to the rabbit rule of what social media does to our brain, the more there is cause for concern.
We are not just programmed to click on ads. We are programmed into a value system that guides our moral compass in a dangerous direction. False popularity allows social networks to fuel narcissism and self-obsession. This brings out some of the worst trends.This leads to envy, comparison, and a constant feeling of scarcity. The inevitable byproduct is an increase in anxiety, depression, and a variety of other mental health problems.
“As of 2014, 93 billion selfies were made using Android phones alone. Every third photo taken by young people between the ages of 18 and 24 was a selfie. ” - Will Storr
People take pictures of themselves to attract the attention of strangers on the Internet.
Internet popularity is a strange phenomenon because you can be famous for being famous. The accumulation of fans and subscribers is not a great achievement. The fact that you attract the attention of strangers on the Internet does not mean that you create any real value.
A couple of years ago I talked to a girl who had a popular Youtube channel. When I looked at her Instagram feed, I realized that almost 90% of her photos were selfies. Most of her status updates were “modest bragging” about how much tax she had to pay, and so on. She constantly had to prove to the world what a wonderful it was.
The approval we get from social media is based on artificial indicators that force people to confuse attention with affection and bloated vanity with true significance. We value cliques, not connectedness, eyes, not the heart, without realizing the toxic effects of quantifying every aspect of humanity. It may seem sad, but we are on the verge of creating a digital dystopia, and there will be no going back.
What kind of world do we want to live in?
Do we want to live in a world where the potential of the Internet is being wasted?
Do we want to live in a world where narcissism and self-obsession are the center of our moral compass?
Do we want to live in a world where we suffer from loneliness?
Or do we want to live in a world where:
• We use the potential of the Internet to solve immediate problems.
• Technology connects us, we communicate and help each other
There are no easy answers to such questions. It may require the fall of social media empires that fuel the industrial social media complex.
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