We’re all insecure about something. We all have parts of ourselves we’d like to change – maybe not enough to actually change our behavior – but you know what I’m talking about. Even the most unself-aware people feel twinges of insecurity from time to time, just look at your Facebook feed on any given day.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’. Well, I think I’m going to have to disagree. After spending a fair amount of time online I’m beginning to think insecurity is the real root of all evil. It makes people who are otherwise rational do and say some really stupid shit – and then share it with everyone online.
You would think that somewhere between thinking and typing some sort of filter would kick in and make them question what they’re about to post – or at least wonder why there are red squiggly lines under most of their words. But that doesn’t seem to happen.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who do think twice before sharing pictures and stories and random thoughts and links. I’m sure there are even people like me who share next to nothing about their personal, every day lives. Part of it is insecurity – why would I want to open myself up to the ridicule of strangers? But it’s mostly because my life is no one else’s damn business.
Sure I would like to have the approval of random strangers sometimes. There are days when I feel down or insecure and would love nothing more than to see one of my posts get a lot of likes, shares, or comments. But then I have to wonder why. I have to wonder if it would really mean anything.
I would get that initial rush of acceptance and feeling like I belong, but do likes or shares really mean anything in the long run?
I know they mean plenty for businesses who are struggling to understand the illusive social media metric in their marketing plan, but that’s a whole other can of worms for another post.
No, this is about what motivates you and me to share our most personal, intimate thoughts, feelings, and pictures – I have seen more cleavage in profile pics than I ever wanted to see in my whole life in the past week or so. And I have to ask why.
Are our lives so empty and lonely that we need to see weird, inappropriate comments from creepy men half way across the world? Or are these profiles even real? Are these men and women who like tricking the creepy men into thinking they’re talking to some hottie down the street?
Then there are the posts that can only be described as desperate cries for help. You know the ones I’m talking about –
‘I love you – I bet I can’t get even one person to say it back…’
‘Watch no one will read this post all the way to the end and listen to instructions…’
‘I was going to kill myself today…’
Again, I have to ask why. What good could possibly come out of guilting people into interacting with us online? If we’re really that bored maybe we should be looking for people we could actually physically interact with to help. Because there are plenty of people out there who have it way worse than we do and they usually live in the same neighborhood. We just don’t know about it because they don’t feel the need to broadcast their misery all over the internet.
So I’ve asked why, but I suppose I already know the answer. We’ve become a nation of bored, entitled assholes who are so insecure we can’t be alone with our thoughts anymore. It’s become socially acceptable – even praised – to let it all hang out so to speak. And then get offended when someone criticizes our behavior…
We have great freedom these days. We’re free to say and do and post whatever we want. But in the process we’re giving away our privacy, self-respect, and decency all in the name of feeling more secure about ourselves without actually figuring out who we are.
So maybe we should all just stop a second. Don’t panic, I would never suggest that we all just quit social media. But maybe we should pause the next time before we hit that button to share whatever we think is hot shit just to see what our motivation really is. Oh and think about how it will be perceived.