Tedious

The funny thing is that chronic complainers are usually the ones who have a very active contribution to their own misery.

You can bet it’s the same people who throw their garbage at the streets who’ll be the first to wag their fists and cry at the heavens in righteous indignity for suffering in a flood they helped in no small part to happen.

Or elder people allowing children to get away with treating them like utter crap during their formative years, and getting surpised and bewildered when said children grew old and still treat them like utter crap.

Or Idi Amin blaming his Scottish adviser because he wasn’t convincing enough when the latter was into his “I told you so” speech to the Ugandan dictator.

But mostly it’s people complaining about social networking services getting too crowded and un-classy that really strikes me as very funny. One, because you actually see it happen once you log in, unlike the very broad generalizations above, and two—because these complaints aren’t exactly about the service;  just garden-variety boredom and the short attention span evident in most net surfers these days.

Caravaggio's Narcissus

I always maintained that the primary purpose of online social networking is just keeping in contact with people. You create a network by adding a few key people and interact with them in any manner you can. Just how virtual and frequent an interaction you would want to have with them is the real question. And for how long.

And more importantly, it might not be an entirely off-tangent assumption to say that the main driving mechanism behind these sites is the person’s interaction with himself. For an internet service that features connections and relationships with a vast number of people, nothing screams “ME” better than Facebook and the rest.

A Newsweek article even touched on the subject. Though not exclusively saying the online networks exacerbate an already-existing flaw, it nonetheless mentioned them as overwhelming factors in this issue:

Psychologists have been tracking narcissism through surveys of American college students since the late 1970s, and levels of it—often measured as a lack of empathy—have never been higher, according to Sara Konrath, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Research Center for Group Dynamics. “If you look at the levers in society, almost all of them are pushing us towards narcissism,” she says. These levers go beyond Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, which offer endless opportunities for self-admiration. They also include advertising that tells consumers “You’re worth it” and reality-TV shows that turn regular people against each other in a battle for celebrity.

There’s just no shortage of online features that stoke the average user’s egocentric sensibilities.  Look at tweets and status updates about the most mundane things and say it’s for everyone. For everyone, yes. For everyone to notice you in any means necessary.

And there’s nothing more gratifying than like-minded individuals praising each other’s tastes for the entire world to see. And there’s nothing more gratifying than having someone put the praise in writing as well.

So people post testimonials, as Friendster so lovingly introduced during its heyday. Enough time passed, and people got tired of begging for a ‘testi’ among each other and now they’re begging people to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ whatever inanity they decided to post online. Same thick-faced groveling, different methods.

And the proliferation of contacts with this kind of embarrassing cluelessness along with their jejemon bretheren is the main source of annoyance for most. Time and again you’d read or hear people say the site is already populated by jologs. So the service turned bad. Therefore, time to find a new and better one jologs wouldn’t hope to discover and pollute. We haven’t even properly defined just how much inarticulateness or tackiness is required before one is considered as such. But that’s beside the point.

So why bother inviting/approving these people as contacts when, if most complaints are to be believed, their presence only pollutes the sphere where you exist and complain about it? Whatever the answer is, rest assured that the pattern will follow you in whatever new service you use. Make that a certainty if it’s extremely popular.

As long as you need an audience for whatever new insanity you want to present to the entire world, the least you can do is stop whining about it.

After all, it’s a merely a reflection of the actual world you’re moving around in.

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