Is Social Networking Breeding a New Culture Of Self-importance?
So, you’ve got 200 Facebook friends and 20 Twitter followers. You feel important – right up there, in celebrity status, alongside Tom Cruise, Pope Benedict XVI and… Susan Boyle. People seem to want to follow your every move – and you oblige by telling them when you eat breakfast, visit the toilet and wash your best pair of pants.
Then, one day, you go through your friends list and it hits you – 195 of your 200 Facebook friends are actually made up of the following:
1) Former classmates from school (who you didn’t really know because you were busy studying in the library or hiding in the janitor’s cupboard whilst they were fighting, smoking and having teenage sex behind the lockers)
2) Old work colleagues (who regularly taunted you for your unusual dress sense and over-large nose).
3) People you met once at a social occasion, but never really spoke to. You just remember their name and the fact that they like bird watching.
4) People who mistake you for someone else (well, you did put a picture of Scooby Doo as your profile photo) and then can’t be bothered to remove you when they realise you’re not who they thought you were.
Despite discovering all this, you still find yourself needing to log on to Facebook and Twitter at every available opportunity to check whether someone has written on your wall (technically, graffiti), posted a follow-up to your comment, or to see if someone has re-tweeted your earlier 140 character creation of genius. Later that day, your only real friend goes through your Twitter followers list and breaks some extra bad news to you: 18 of your 20 Twitter followers are actually just porn pedlars.
The Lives Of The Self-Important
So, why do social networking websites make people think that they must share everything with the world? Perhaps it is down to the questions that they ask: “what are you doing?” or “what’s happening?” (Twitter) or “what’s on your mind?” (Facebook). It’s a dream come true for people with over-inflated egos.
I’m amazed when people tweet that they’re sitting in traffic on the motorway, washing their hair or about to go out and buy a new pair of knickers. Now, if they were about to meet Pope Benedict XVI (or Susan Boyle, I don’t mind which) and present him (or her) with the fore-mentioned pair of knickers, I would be interested (and would probably even re-tweet it to my own *tens* of ‘interested’ followers). For me, these people put the “twit” into Twitter.
When out in public, the behaviour of the self-important is extraordinary to watch. I observed one such person on Friday night. I was in a busy cocktail bar and as it got towards the end of the night, I glanced to the side of the room to observe a rather inebriated man sit down at a computer screen and log in to Facebook. You could tell he was drunk – it was a real struggle for him to locate and type each letter of his username and password. If that wasn’t a complete giveaway to his drunken state, his next action certainly was, as he got up shouted out “I’ve got my lasagne” and then proceeded to pull a small plastic bag out of his pocket (containing said lasagne) and whirl it round and round his head in celebration…
Now then, at that point I could have considered it to be a monumental moment worth sharing with the Internet world, taken out my iPhone and tweeted ‘just stood in a cocktail bar and watched a man whirl lasagne around his head”. Did I? No… damn, why didn’t I?
To conclude this rant, an idea: Perhaps Twitter should change its initial question to say: “so, what makes you think you’re so bloody interesting today?”
Maybe someone should also start a list of ‘self-important people‘ (not to be confused with ‘self impotent’ people – that’s a different blog post altogether), gather them all in the same place, with their computers and mobile phones, and see what happens. Forget the Hadron Collider and the Maya 2012 predictions – this idea could really cause the destruction of mankind!
8 thoughts on “The Self-Importance Of Facebook, Twitter”
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.
I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the Great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.
i always update my Twitter and i love to twitter my daily activities to my friends and loved ones. i also maintain a personal blog for entries which requires more detail.
I just had the exact conversation in a meeting a few days ago. Weird! Great article!
Thanks Kyle. I think it’s something that will be noticed more and more as time goes on.
I have seen the performance of Susan Boyle and it is never short of excellent. Definitely one of the best voices out there.
What I have found on Facebook is people I have gone to high school with that are making pretentious fools of themselves. As an example, one person talks of business issues at 30,000 ft, the house cleaner, meetings, etc. It is saying, “I’m important, just look at me now”. But what is the point? Why would anyone so important have to let people know these things. The people that are really important don’t have time for Facebook and all the daily updating and pretentious roundabout bragging. These are the same types that project all their business loudly in a restaurant so everyone can hear them.
Here it is 2014 and the ego of the “Average Joe” is becoming even more inflated. Instagram has become a new way for people to show off just how “important” they are with an online photo album. Watching my friends and family act like they are models, actors, musicians, artist, etc…has become so annoying because they don’t make a living off these aspirations. Yet when you read their bio’s on said social outlets they make themselves out to be much more than what their daily lives consist of. Most of them work in retail or regular 9-5 jobs, however to a stranger browsing their profiles they will believe that this person is living the life of a celeb (rolls eyes).
I cringe when I read a post by someone I know talking about they’re so tired from studying and just had pizza for dinner. Or how they have the best Camelot romance ever and so romantic. I miss not knowing every detail of one’s life. Its made actual in person interaction awkward because I already know how your day is going and where you went last night.
Sorry for this rant, but I miss the days when people didn’t try to exaggerate their lives and give a list of all of these things they do. I miss living life in the moment without having to document it for the whole to see. When people want to stage a photo op of their night out, it takes away from actually enjoying the said moment. I am the odd one out, I do have profiles yet I barely post and when I do I make jokes, and everyone is so curious about what i am up to because I keep my life private on social media, which seems like a weird thing lol.