The Nerd’s Last Word
by Michael Bosley
I’m what you would call a reluctant member of social media.
Swayed somewhat by the tide of peer pressure and the immediate convenience of photo sharing and networking within my musical and photographical related circles, I now spend most of my time intentionally looking for and baulking at the most extreme social media offenders – the vein, the pretentious, the angry, the offensive and the attention seekers.
Like some kind of masochist, I derive some kind of pleasure in gawping at their (perceived) cool, stylish lives, somewhat confused, but simultaneously marvelling at their determination to harness and embrace absolutely every tool that social media offers its users in order for them to market and exploit every facet of their lives to its fullest potential.
When Facebook inevitably became the preserve of bored housewives, elderly aunties trying to work the internet and angry fake news rants, I jumped ship and decided to test the waters over in that there Instagram, which promised a more cerebral, cultural experience that would cater to my love of music, photography, the arts and most importantly, Simpsons’ memes.
As an image based service, Instagram is, of course based on image. Moody, lonely figures looking out into the ocean are carefully tweaked for colour, tone and shadow and are accompanied by some form of enlightening quote or message completely unrelated to the picture. Whereas a Facebook post accompanying such a photo would usually read “Me on Bournemouth beach! Lol!”, Instagram invites you to dig a little deeper into your pompous psyche and give the reader something to scratch their chin over.
“Sometimes you just need to take a moment and think about how life is like a winding river, stretching off into the horizons of time…” or something. The key is to promote oneself as much as possible without looking too much like you are. The humble-brag as it has come to be known. Tick the boxes; attractive and stylish – check, sensitive and reflective – check, perceptive and funny – check, good at sports and music – check.
The trouble with trying to be good at everything is that sooner or later you struggle to keep all the plates spinning. No wonder so many people sink into deep depressions trying to keep up the persona. We’re sending a message to people – particularly young people – that unless you live a bombastic lifestyle full of rock climbing, exotic holidays, luxury goods, perceived spiritual enlightenment, health kicks and fancy lattes, then your life is pretty meaningless.
It epitomises the shallow, superficial, everything-now attitude of modern culture, where no one truly takes the time to learn and experience, they just want a picture to give the impression they did.