Altruism and alter egos: how social media changed adulthood.

I love social media, but I find that its practices of comparison and attention-hunting have seeped into adulthood and made us hungry for the wrong attention. We’ve all ascribed to this culture of building someone behind the screen that we rarely embody in person. Altruism and alter egos is what I call it – almost none of it is real/sincere. I have taken the time to generate a list of adult social media patterns that partly or fully describe most of us. They make me laugh and also cry a little. They’re all over Facebook and Instagram, never as loud in person – and never, ever as animated. It’s important to use social media to promote your work, to network with people, to share things with others from time to time, but we’ve now taken social media into a twisted zone of projecting characteristics that have little connection to who we are or what we really do. It doesn’t leave room for screwing up anymore.

This person finds it necessary to post pictures of their families followed by insanely long paragraphs describing how supportive, loving and caring they are. For some reason, we all have to be very surprised that it’s the case. Nice pictures are nice, paragraph long biographical breakdowns of the relationships … not so much. They are active especially around mother’s day and birthdays, usually posting pictures with lots of hearts and flowers and talking to their parents on FB instead of in person. They also post loving messages and lots of hearts on their siblings’ and parents’ walls for everyone else to see while being divided by a wall in the same house, you know … real love. They will often try to convince you that it’s how they feel 24/7. I’m sorry to drop the news so abruptly and it may be too hard to take: but we have families, and we love them too. Oh! and our mothers are also nice. Your boyfriend is probably a great guy, but BEST BOYFRIEND EVER is relative to your relationship only, don’t sell it to me and stop upper casing, I can’t hear you.

I cook very very well. All my food looks nice all the time.
Dinners, lunches, dates, drinks … we’ve got a solid breakdown of their nutritional intake, so much that we can predict what medical symptoms they may or may not experience as a result. You got strawberries? Well their strawberries taste better AND they got a filter on them. Their salads are amazing because you can’t get vegetables like that. Don’t forget Hashtag CLEANEATS. They went vegan last week so follow their Instagram before they revert and hashtag #protein. They often evolve to sharing their gym photos or a low angle picture of their morning run … every morning for a whole year before they transition to Cross fit and Yoga.

The compulsive “share-holder”
They share anything and everything, from motivational videos, to quotes, news stories, YouTube clips, Twitter feeds, Instagram photos. The Jacks-of-all-trades of social media, latest plane crash? they share it, elections? they’re on it, viral videos? no problem. Never necessarily on time, but it’s important that they let you know that they’re up to date on everything taking place in the world. Videos titled “they thought she was homeless, what she did next was incredible” are all over their feeds. They may believe that their wall is the go-to page for interesting, ground breaking information – it’s not the case. It’s gotten to the point where no one will ever check their walls to see how they’re doing. If they’re sharing, they’re probably alive.

The “I talk to people in the third person” person.
This particular person loves the status bar because of its power to document their drama – exclamation marks and everything – with enough edits and hints for the person the comment is directed to. They often share their post(s) hoping that it makes its way to the targeted person through mutual Facebook friends. This person has completely shattered the notion of first-person, in-person communication.  They talk to their exes, their bosses, the friends they are fighting with, their evil co-workers only on their page. It’s like a public diary for everyone to read, no names, just rants.
e.g. “Ugh, the nerve of some people.” or “Never give someone your everything, people are SO selfish and so hard to trust.”

The “they see me rollin” person.
They love sharing pictures of their newest possessions then talk about the evil eye: gifts from their significant others, new cars, new phones, new outfits. You know their belongings from their sharing habits. You often notice the pattern in its early phases, starting with a status saying “FEELING HAPPY :D” and typically within a 24-hour turnaround a picture of their new car is up. Then a year later a picture of the damaged bumper is shared, to prove to people that they’re not as #blessed as one may have believed. It’s important to share their regret too. This group of people also tends to showcase how hard they work. The most common shared quote is “get up, dress up, show up and never give up” or “Monday, I will conquer you” … because the rest of us don’t have day jobs or outfits for work for that matter.

The ‘I rarely use social media’ person.
They’re SO busy so they’re so much better than social media. They don’t do updates, they post infrequently, but thanks to mobile apps and algorithms we see them logging on to Facebook all the time. They like articles, pictures and status updates very often, but they don’t “use” Facebook. Because minimalism and long silences on social media profiles are the new cool.
We see you … and we know you’re lying.


One thought on “Altruism and alter egos: how social media changed adulthood.

  1. LOL Marwa! This is brilliant. Although my silence has less to do with minimalism and more to do with the fact that if you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say anything.. And in typing this I may have inadvertently type cast myself. Hahha .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s