Waffle cake creator and lover of all things purple

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West Sussex, United Kingdom

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Wakey wakey!

I'm back. I decided to do writing stuff again YAY. It's been a heck of a while since I have put time aside to get my thoughts down on paper, or erm, uploaded and globally accessible on the digiverse.

 Honestly. Back in my day if someone so much as saw the cover of your inner head warble book you'd be mortified, but now if you don't get some emoticon based form of recognition from your old primary teacher and your friend's puddy cat's social media presence you feel like a failure.

I feel like popularity, and the constant strive for it, has increased in intensity later in life, and that the digital age of instant procrastination has played a fundamental role.

For one, there are more areas of competition as you grow up. Family / relationships / career / possessions / achievements / physical appearance / finances / intelligence. The list of things that one strives to achieve "first" or "best" seems to grow exponentially with what I have decided to refer to as "experience". ( I'm getting quite touchy about -AGE- urgh. This year marks a milestone birthday. more on that at a later date.)

 The "keeping up with the jones'" effect has been prominent in society for as long as I recall, but I think social media had enabled this to reach disgustingly dizzy heights. With news streams full of scan photos, holiday snaps, new job updates, relationship statuses and "how much do you know about theoretical physics, I bet it's less than me, you idiot" quizzes, is it any wonder that people feel pressured into conforming with their peers? I know I have fallen victim to it too. I feel genuinely put out if people haven't enjoyed something i consider a bit quirky or witty I've shared on my Facebook. (Don't worry though, it's a rare occasion where I don't get recognition for my genius). Just yesterday I took a quiz "how many words do you know" because a comedian, whom I've not even seen perform, posted that according to the quiz they knew 45,000 and I wanted to see how I compared. (Worse, annoyingly)

 I just worry that our need to "upload" and "update" can have a negative affect on self esteem. Not everyone can afford holidays. Not everyone can get pregnant. Not everyone has found their special someone. The constant stream of "look what I've done, I'm doing life right" can create a falsified pressure on individuals within social circles to comply. Ever noticed how you seem to have one wedding after the next to go to? Or how many "congrats on your new parasitic life form" cards you send out in quick succession? Seeing others in your social circle achieving in certain areas tends to instigate these actions and milestones in your own life.

20 years ago, your social circle would include a few of the people you knew growing up, or who live near you, or you work with. With the addition of social networking, your circle can include people who share an interest from all over the world, people who your mum's friend used to babysit that one time, even people who just have the same name as you because, wow you're so RAD n'that. We are receiving social pressure from people we don't even know.

 This has even become evident in how celebrities have evolved from secretive god like apparitions, to flawed, needy children vying for attention. The pressure to have the most digi-stalkers, most "likes" "shares" etc has hit most areas of society, encouraging all people, from your next door neighbour, your local MP right up to, I don't know, NDUBS? to divulge areas of their private lives in the hope of receiving recognition and to feel validated.

I'm not saying we shouldn't share our precious news and achievements online, but I think we a) shouldn't feel compelled to
and b) we should be aware of our motivations behind it.
Sharing news via social media because distance is a factor between you and your friend is slightly different to deliberately posting about a new romance hoping your cheating scumbag of an ex sees how much better off you are without them, or showing off your promotion to people who doubted you. Not that I've done that of course. *awkward*

I think we should also try and remember that "just because everyone else has, doesn't mean we should". Being the best "you" is what we should all strive for. Not to tick off milestones because everyone else has.

Anyway. That's the end of my little rant. I shall attempt a more light hearted blog next time :-)

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