Monday, 11 February 2013

The (sad) pursuit of e-popularity

Oh, social media, you never fail to surprise me.
In my e-lifetime to date I've experienced numerous annoying viral social media born campaigns.

Share this status if you want to get rid of AIDS! 
Like this photo of my ticket and I'll give you £1,000,000 if I win the lottery!  
Urban legends which urge you to re-post this status in the next 4 minutes, or else 28 kittens will get hit by a truck. (The emotive ones always work a treat.)

Just when we thought we'd seen it all... Welcome the 'If I get 1 million likes' phenomenon. 

It's like anything, at first it's quite comical - some shy boy who eats his feelings (and everything else) wants to sleep with the hottie, and she only agreed to it because she never in a million years assumed it'd go viral, and so we click that electronically generated blue thumbs up. Like. We laugh. We laugh at how hysterically excited he will be when he shows her the "evidence". We laugh at the thought of her face when she realises she's sold herself online, both visually and physically. We perhaps share said photo.  
And then what? Unless they actually somehow manage to inform us fellow million likees that they have actually achieved their goal, what do we gain from this situation? Absolutely bugger all. Did he get to travel to England from Japan to buy fish and chips? Did she sleep with him? Did she actually run around the city naked? No idea. And, to be honest, after you've supported them in their quests, do you even remember liking it? Again, probably not.

So what is the deal with this unending desire to be approved of by strangers online? People will do anything online for their taste of fifteen minutes. The wilder, the better. Whether it's seeking re-tweets, likes, LOLs or shares, the world has become obsessed with strangers making their decisions for them. 
And this makes me sad. It's such thoughtless validation, and at some point it's going to end in tears. I can't help but feel that it leaves you with an unsettling thought of a new digital era in which nothing can define us more in life than our extravagant pursuit for internet fame.

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