As humans, we always strive to be recognized. We always need others to affirm our existence and that we “matter” in the world. In today’s society, everyone wants to be an individual and differentiate themselves from other people. We all are taught that it is a good thing to be “different” and “unique” and that it is something we should pride ourselves in. Therefore we always try hard to create a certain image of ourselves and maintain it by the way we walk, talk, and even dress. But in today’s world, we even smaller and less important due to the overwhelming force of the internet. We are more miserable than ever before in human history.
Before we talk about the affect of the internet in our every-day lives, let me briefly go over the idea of humans wanting to be different and unique from one another. When we were born, we were all tossed into this world. We didn’t have a choice of where we are born, what race we are, or even what we look like. We look around and for the most part, we all look the same. We all have feet, legs, torsos, arms, fingers, necks, heads, eyes, ear, and hair. Although we have slight variations such as height, weight, and physical attractiveness; all in all we are pretty much the same.
Being born into this world looking like everyone else, we strive to be different. From a young age we are socialized into thinking that being different and being a star is desired. Our society worships celebrities and rockstars. The idea of being on the stage with a million screaming fans is many of our dreams. To have the spotlight on us, and nobody else. For everyone to listen to our needs, desires, and wants. For us to matter in this huge huge world of ours.
There are many ways we can try to differentiate ourselves. Our physical appearances and attributes are unalterable (for the most part) and clothing and fashion is a quick way to “look different” from everywhere else. The clothing industry is a multi-billion dollar industry which profits from individuals trying to create a different self-image. Although people who consider themselves “anti-society” try to push themselves away from “ordinary people” by dressing in all black, with spikes, colored hair, and outrageous fashion, they end up looking like everyone else who tries to do the same. Stores such as Hot Topic thrive in business from young teenagers who try to go “against the grain.” The irony is that Hot Topic is actually owned by Abercrombie and Fitch, which shoppers at Hot Topic are usually trying to combat.
Ever since the introduction of America Online and the Internet, the world as we know it has changed dramatically. Suddenly the internet has suddenly made the huge world a much smaller place, by linking nations from all over the world together in one cyber-domain. And now with the internet, we have the need to please even more people. We try to personalize everything as much on our accounts on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and even our Google homepages. We pride ourselves in being different, but the internet has made it incredibly difficult to be “unique”. But regardless, we want to be affirmed and recognized as being different and special, so we constantly try our hardest to stand out and shine.
But this has caused a lot of dissatisfaction and a feeling of emptiness in the world. We constantly try to add people on Myspace to feel more important by having the omst friends. On Facebook, we constantly write on each other’s walls, upload photos, and write witty status updates to hope to get a ton of “notifications” in our inboxes. We constantly twitter every thought that crosses our mind in hopes of getting more and more “followers.” We constantly blog in hoping to get more and more page hits. Through the internet, we measure our self-worth by numbers. The more friends, notifications, comments, followers, or hits we have, the better.
Therefore, we must re-focus our attention on quality, rather than quantity. Who cares if you have 1000 friends on Facebook if none of them knows your birthday without looking at your profile? Who cares if you have 1000 comments on your blog if they are only commenting because you give them a comment? Who cares if you have a 1000 followers on Twitter if you aren’t close to any of them?
So what I am trying to say is simplify your lives. Re-focus your attention on intimate relationships, rather than the very impersonal world of the internet. Trying to get the most Myspace friends is as fruitless as trying to count all the stars in the sky. It is something that you might try your entire life but will never succeed. Sometimes in life, less is more.