It seems with the rise to mainstream prominence of Facebook and Twitter; we see much more hyperbole in the day-to-day life of normal citizens. We often read about, “best weekend ever”, “best friends forever”, “greatest night in the history of Fort Lauderdale”, “most hilarious thing ever”, “this is amazing” et al. I believe this is not always even believed by the people who write it, but perhaps to make others believe that the author was involved in something so great, so stupendous, that not only must others hear of it, in turn feel jealous of it, but know, that since it was “the best girlfriends in the world partying in Miami for the weekend” that no one can ever top that wonderful moment. The hyperbolic nature of Facebook is to create envy, but not in negative ways. We post our vacations, our favorite relaxing moments, our family in funny situations, our life lessons, our life triumphs and ask others to revel in our glory. We ask it collectively. That is why other people’s pictures, opinions and moments appear on your page.
Nobody wants anyone to miss anything they’re doing. Rarely would anyone take the time to actually click on your link to check you out, so we put it out there publicly for all the friends to see simply by logging on. I don’t think it is unnatural. In fact, in the 21st century it is more natural to be laid bare and completely open in your yearning for approval and recognition than it would be to hide your feelings.
We are gregarious, we are desirous for an examined life as Plato said that anything less is not worth living. We use introspection balanced with external comments to search our emotional responses to the world. To be honest with yourself in the age of reality shows and celeb-worship is to know that you would probably take, if not relish for some time, the constant scrutiny and phony devotion of being the one in the camera’s flash instead of the one pushing the button.
The world is changing again, as it always will. The exaggeration of daily life, and the magnification of minutiae is thrust into our faces like mall perfume samples. I wonder if the rise in depression is due to people feeling unworthy of living because they aren’t being photographed or pulled aside for interviews.
Do we feel unimportant because only our family and friends care about us, as opposed to strangers worshipping us through the magazine pages or the Hollywood blockbusters? Even as I write this, I do wonder who will read it, who will appreciate it. We want to feel alive and needed, we want to leave our mark upon this world. You can now hire a company to follow you around for a night taking pictures of you paparazzi style. Strangers stop, stare and ask, “Who is that?” The search for self is a perpetual study. For some it may be answered from within, for others it is found in external acknowledgment of their existence. Business will follow demand. We demand to be noticed.