Social media (electronic social networks or SM in brief) have literally invaded our lives. The 10s decade will definitely go down in history as the decade of their extensive proliferation and their conquering of a significant part of society, as well as a far from negligible amount of human time and brain tissue.
What makes SM so successful? It’s the directness, the speed of communication, the witty comments, the funny posts, the interesting news; but, above all, it’s the addiction they cause. An addiction that often surpasses the acceptable limits of a pleasant pastime and could very well end up in specialized detox facilities; facilities now available in many hospitals around the world, in the context of having to face general PC dependency issues.
Why is it that we can hardly spend one day without signing in on Facebook and Twitter? Why is it that our mobile’s low battery constitutes a factor of everyday angst and, ironically, ends up cancelling out the initial reason we let mobile phones into our lives (to be able to make a phone call in an hour of need)?
- Loneliness, which sometimes floats over our lives like a phantom and drives those drowning in its waters to clasping at straws – meaning the easily accessible SM as a substitute of so-called socialization.
- The general decadence of relationships; people’s inability to construct healthy relationships, to assume responsibility for maintaining a friendly contact – be it social or romantic. SM is perfect for the sustenance of à la carte relationships (as much as I want, whenever and wherever I want) through the safety of written speech, without the risk of actual contact and spontaneity, both of which can be deliberately overruled.
- The great need not to feel “left out of the city’s happenings”, to participate, not to miss any of the news – from the latest witticism of Yanis Varoufakis to the dish our sister-in-law just cooked.
- The narcissism of likes/followers, which gradually ups the ante of vanity to increasingly higher, yet always measurable, levels (“If I don’t get 100 likes, my photo is worthless; why did it take you one hour to like it?” Next year, it’s going to be 500 likes). Too many self-esteem issues and the need for self-assertion is more persistent than the country’s financial crisis.
- Our dependence on the image we project to others; one that is maintained by posting only the happy, beautiful and trendy moments of our lives, as well as those that hint to our financial capacity to sustain a certain level of living (albeit a photo of me eating a pie in the centre of Thessaloniki; “Oh, look, I’m having a great time!”)
- The eternal internetic keyhole, through which we like sneaking peeks into the private lives of others, not minding the fact that we too are exposed at the same time. “We always speak of others, so that we don’t hurt, so that we forget”, as the song goes.
- The frequent need for “safe” flirting, away from uncomfortable silences and live exposure to the other person’s eyes through actual contact. Photoshopped photos from two years ago usually complete the bankruptcy of any sincerity.
- Finally, the love for punchlines, witticisms, a self-indulgent word-lust, usually in the context of glorification of a so-called modern relation with politics of the meta-Bogdanos type, which comments before you do, for you, with dense, narcissistic, self-assertive and crypto-fascist trendy mottoes. As soon as Adonis Georgiadis has finished his last tweet, you have to be the first one to troll him; because, deep inside, you know best.
Social media? More like Social Medea, since, with its hyperbole, their excessive usage kills its children – the supporters and followers of the internetic court; those who feed it and give it meaning; the fateful and irresolute seekers of the affection that the like button can offer, of the value that a re-tweet can give, of the self-esteem of posts, and of the party-animalism of 3,000 unknown “friends” and double or triple profiles.
The discussion ends, almost on its own accord, with the wisest of all ancient Greek sayings, in just a few words: All things with good measure. And with another (more modern) saying: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.