We are social animals, and today social media mirrors us thoroughly. Partly because, for marketing purposes, our devices listen to us; and partly because their own algorithms pursue this purpose. However you look at it, our virtual world knows us much better than we know it. This observation is also confirmed by the common thought that would like, according to its reasoning, ostracize and confine in a smaller and degraded dimension what in reality is much larger and more difficult to understand.
The technic is fawning over us.
Therefore, when the common conformist spills their fruitless accusations onto the virtual table, flaring at one digital connection tool between humans or another, what they lack acknowledging is that they are the first to be as dry and empty as the social media they live in. This is because social media shapes itself, over time, around us and we ourselves are its continuous reservoir. If Facebook is filled with idiots, it is because you have consciously and freely decided to be ‘friends’ with those idiots; if Instagram is full of ‘oversized apricot asses’ it is because you have decided to follow that trend. It is obvious how social media works on a trend dictated by a single person’s will, together with the platform’s intrinsic peculiarities – society should, as they say: “question and answer itself”; because in the end, we are the ones that have to contribute to shaping our virtual space until it resembles us.
This is a risk that I feel I could deal with by adopting a multifaceted way of thinking, in order to ensure that internet’s response is also multifaceted.
We thereby run the obvious risk of finding ourselves in the proverbial ‘bubble’, meaning that over time and without realising it, on YouTube for instance, we might find videos of people who only think like us. This is a risk that I feel I could deal with by adopting a multifaceted way of thinking, in order to ensure that internet’s response is also multifaceted.
When, for example, someone ridicules Tik Tok for its ‘dance’ videos, I internally relive one of the final scenes of the film Jojo Rabbit in which the main character, a Jewish teenager who lives in both her friend and enemy’s storage closet. When he, a German boy and a fan of Hitler, asks her “what would you like to do when the war is over?”, she replies that the first thing would be to go out in the streets and dance. And yet, there could be endless quotes to that effect because when you dance you release endorphins that make you feel good. Plus, if millions of kids dance, it is perhaps because they have no other way of recovering some healthy frivolity.
Returning now to my task of countering impiety criticism towards social media, I remember that not so long ago I received one of the zillion of positive stimuli that came from Tik Tok.
In a video, a girl spoke about her experience on Tinder, which she had downloaded in spite of and thanks to the quarantine period. She immediately realised that social media like this, based only on images, did not give her the chance to understand if, among the many two-dimensional faces, there was one that hid the inestimable value of being able to make her laugh. So, to speed up the process and make it more effective, she took advantage of one of Google’s free features: Google Form.
She therefore started to write some of the following questions, here are just a few: “What’s your favourite meme?” or what was your favourite joke as a child or your favourite deranged film. Straight after attaching the form to her Tinder profile, an unexpected answer was given: 2300 people had filled it in.
While I was watching this girl’s social experiments, my mind was going back to an online course on ‘digital content creation’ – which I enrolled in during quarantine on the Coursera platform. Each professor in the course had taken up the same central theme of this anecdote: know your audience.
At a glance, I realised that my break from work was directing me effortlessly and smoothly back to work: I could use Google Form too!
In conclusion, I think about the fact that companies pay handsomely for marketing management, consultants and salespeople, and sometimes I am surprised at how these dynamics are so far from the real world. Proof of this is the only social media that I have not mentioned ‘til now: Linkedin. To me, Linkedin is the place of superficiality, of empty and stale words, of 1980s anglicisms. One inhales the smell of mothballs and intemperate and, honestly, that’s why I don’t spend more than a few seconds on it a week, because the watchword is always: know your enemy.