Shakespeare famously wrote in Hamlet back in 1601 “To be or not to be” and pondered over a state of being alive and dead, questioning the human existence and what comes with being alive, the pain, the torment and what comes after death, the freedom and closure of life.
But alas, things have changed since 1601. We live in a different world. A world of technology. A world where each one of us is our own brand and via the digital channels of social media we now feel we have so much to lose.
Just one wrong tweet or Facebook post and a wave of public opposition drowns you. In one sense, like never before, we really have to watch our words. For some, all we have ever wanted is to be ‘liked’, social network pun intended. We have become addicted to the thumb. Who would have known that the Fonzie played by Albert Herbert Fonzarelli was light years ahead of us all with his trademark thumbs up idiosyncrasy just under 50 years ago. For those too young to remember, Google here is your friend.
But do we even question such huge existential questions anymore? Do we sit and ponder the state of being alive, get lost in thought, wonder about life after death once we take that final inevitable breath? Do we involve ourselves in such perspicacious mental activity? Or do we now just simply, constantly, think of, and let’s be frank, superfluous, meaningless shit to gain ‘likes’?
What have we become? Where are we going? What does a thumb or a ‘like’ even really mean? With 250 likes can you get a mortgage or a loan? And do we truly say what we really feel? Or do we monitor what we say in order to fit in and be ‘liked’?
It’s a pretty pathetic existence really, and a far cry from when Shakespeare’s words were carved into the page to echo for hundreds of years after through Thespians on stages around the world screaming from their soul in an existential crisis.
“To be ‘liked’ in my Louis Vuitton trainers or not to be ‘liked’ in my Louis Vuitton trainers that will make me a real person!”
Nope, collectively now across many different social media apps we are seeking affirmation of ourselves, seeking to be ‘liked’, to be accepted through mainly selfies. ‘Please like me!!!!’ screams from the 2000th self portrait. It’s interesting to see how many people put pictures of themselves on the apps. It’s kind of odd really to flick through someones profile and just see a everlasting stream of themselves in front of a huge assortment of different mirrors in different bathrooms taking pictures of themselves. It never really dawned on me that people visited so many bathrooms! What odd behaviour. It matters little that they have no talent. But it matters hugely that they are liked for… being them. Nothing more. What a huge psychological burden for one to have.
It’s no secret that social media has detrimental effects on the lives of many that use it, from depression to anxiety, lack of sleep, loneliness and high levels of insecurity.
“To be or not to be suicidal? That is the question!”
Low self esteem leads to people feeling the need to be liked, and social networks can help with that, to the point of mania.
We have collectively become slaves to our own egos and low self esteem leading us to continually pumping out information about the most soulless parts of our lives hoping to fit in and be accepted.
Shakespeare wrote the fateful words over 400 years ago.
We should be evolving.