Social media is a big part of our lives. According to the July 2016 compiled statistics courtesy of SocialMediaNews.com.au, there are at least 15,000,000 Facebook users in Australia. That’s a lot of people using the social media service, even if Dave won’t shut up about not being on it. We get it Dave, you want to be different.
Let’s talk more about Dave. Dave claims that he’s not on Facebook, because he doesn’t need to tell everyone what he’s doing at all times of the day. Dave likes his privacy. Dave has every right to his privacy, and he’s somewhat justified in his paranoia. In this past year alone, the number of hacks to big file sharing and social media sites just seem to be getting more, and more, and more frequent. Not even Myspace is safe!
We share so much of ourselves on social media nowadays, that the thought that someone could potentially have access to any of the information that we have posted is quite confronting.
…..Yeah. Like that.
While the image of a hacker gathering all our personal information is rather creepy, and a little Dick-ish (by which I mean Phillip K.), at least it’s in the comfort of their parent’s basement and not in the real world. But think carefully now. How many private moments have you had in public? And now how many of those private moments do you think have ended up as someone else’s social media content?
We use social media as a way to gain social capital, since they have as Hofer (2016) puts it, ‘the potential for users to not only maintain pre-existing relationships, but also to establish new networks with people they have never met before.’
I bring this up because we as humans have a tendency to make the most intimate moments into some sweet content in the pursuit of internet points. DJ Khaled has said that he wants to Snapchat his son’s birth, Robbie Williams tweeted his wife giving birth, and some guy even live-streamed his son being born on Facebook. From the sounds of it, these ladies are better off loving Angels instead. And that’s a major key.
I can point the finger all I like, but to tell the truth, I’m guilty of this myself. Let’s look at some old tweets.
Looking back on these tweets, I’ve realised that I’ve taken something that is incredibly intimate and used it for my own internet points. To those people, I’m really sorry. Pretty Dick-ish move on my part (not the Phillip K. kind).
The positive relationship between narcissism and updating status might be attributable to the fact that narcissistic individuals’ desire for admiration is often satisfied through self-presentation, frequently functions of status updates and posting comments. Both satisfy the narcissistic individuals’ desire to express a high sense of self-importance. (Wang, J 2012)
By positioning myself as the viewer on an intimate moment between two people, I was in essence self-presenting as higher status, and increasing my importance in the story. I didn’t need to be a part of the story at all, but I had created this story about me watching a private moment.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that the pervasive nature of social media isn’t just between yourself and your screen. Other people have screens too, and there’s a chance you are now a background character in the story that is their lives.
Dave probably has a point.
Hofer, M 2016, ‘Perceived bridging and bonding social capital on Twitter: Differentiating between followers and followees‘, Computers in Human Behaviour, Vol. 29, No. 6 , 2134-42, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.04.038
Wang, J 2012, ‘The relationships among the Big Five Personality factors, self-esteem, narcissism, and sensation-seeking to Chinese University students’ uses of social networking sites (SNSs)’, Computers in Human Behaviour, Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 2313-19, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.07.001