Working in social media and living with a complex Y generation syndrome seasoned with FOMO (fear of missing out) has made me often want to take a free trip off the rails and hit the streets of foreign cities to cleanse my system or simply, well, scream.
I have been obsessed with it. Since Yahoo Messenger entered my life as a late teenager, I’ve seen online technology blast friendships, relationships, clearing out liaisons and hitting of borders events with the speed and touch of Katrina, the hurricane. Needless to say, while this could be still interpreted by the following: nosy sociologists, psychiatrists, or our parents as futility of the certain relationships, I see it as highly conclusive for the day and age we live in.
It was no longer than 2009 when I made a Facebook account at the vile persistence of my friend A. who lives in Australia and wanted to keep in touch and share thoughts, photos and other memorabilia on the social network when I finally decided to give it a go. Which sounds perfectly normal for the goal it was, ahem, initially intended.
It was as soon as 2011 when I finally finished working on my first novel, a
jaded memoir blatant satire targeting our mixed media social life which changed our offline lives with the pace of a cheetah running free in a circle, in the middle of New Delhi.
Because Facebook is stormy.
It does crawl under our beds like creepy little monsters from childhood flooded with american cinema to rise up fears, insecurities and different kinds of jealousy, recklessness and a need for affirmation more often confused with self sufficiency. Then again, if self sufficiency had a hashtag, it would probably rank somewhere between the ideology of staying sane in a fast paced environment regardless the change of climate and living truly while avoiding ingraining the brag messages in the self.
But this is the century of the Selfie. I do it, you do it. And we still complain. We’re still jealous of others. The real daily produced soap opera with a life span of forever, airing momentary kitchen practices, shopping overload, shameless selfie promotion, bedroom routines from exes, their new life mates and the overly achievements of people you never probably met, most probably never really, tangibly will, but, like in a small village, you can never be truly alone between your 4589 friends. Just really, really, lonely.
I met the love of my life on Facebook. Well, not technically, but it helped. A lot. It helped to land jobs, ventures, friendships and boyfriends, but it also did a hell of a job to take some of them down. The past of your Timeline is creeping from last year’s agenda worse than a nightmare and the last thing you want – I know you know what I’m about to say – is your boyfriend’s ex in a throwback Thursday memory from 2014. Right.
Like a great editor of DAZED would put it, you can NEVER break up with your past on social media. Its there, like hell around the corner, waiting for you to scroll a little bit down in the newsfeed, ready to serve you another sample of “Life as you used to live it, now starring brand NEW people” or “The NEW and SUCCESSFUL pair of shoes I just got from Gucci”, or perhaps “How CAT rules the world” and vivid depictions of dead people. Of course, one would come and say, “Hello, but there is a delete button and a hide content and even the block and unfriend options”. Yeah, kudos to extreme measures. There’s also a DELETE Facebook button out there, clearly well hidden, for all of those who decide for extreme therapy of breathing, living and inhaling outside the comfort zone social network build. Because they do, indeed, transform our realities to annuaries of facts, images and tangible pieces of who we were, sometimes funny, sometimes helpful for tips and ideas and sometimes simply old farts that won’t let us move on with our mortal existence.
In a strange way, I feel lucky for how my mindset hasn’t changed a lot since I was 13. I can claim the real advantages of brand awareness and worth building for companies, hobbies and passions on the web. I just cannot get a grip of that time wasting, mind blocking, brain triggering feeling that constant watch of a mashed up lifestyle from an entire generation takes the shape of a highly unproductive Tsunami that doesn’t evolve but just move in a circle, as it’s meant, while fucking around with some of the structures it meets.
And as my dissertation writes, I still agree how Social Media is great for networking but a real menace for personal relationships management. Dropping bombs from behind a computer screen has become one of the epitomes of living 2.0. It has succeeded to make the shy outrageous and the ugly ducks gain popularity ranked on like hits. It has rewarded our egos and pumped generous amounts of serotonin in our systems but has still, failed, to makes us necessarily, more interesting, charismatic or magnetic offline. It’s only a dream.
I don’t know if Facebook will make it as late as Young and the restless, but understanding that it’s easier to keep what’s personal outside it gives me a bit of relaxation aroud the thought that perhaps my kid will have something better to do than reach out and touch Like in a 20 year from now time.
Ioana Cristina Casapu is the Managing Director of Art Parasites Magazine. She likes Brian Eno, airports and never says no to a good old Gin&Tonic.