THE BLOG

15 Seconds to Infamy

06/20/2014 03:22 pm ET | Updated Aug 19, 2014

Ubiquity is not tantamount to notoriety. In fact, it may be a recipe for anonymity. Due to Big Data, everyone has less than Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. In fact, 15 minutes of fame in our current technocracy is enough to create a hagiography since it's such an anomaly. The bar has dropped in terms of fame, but the mass of men who live Thoreau's "lives of quiet desperation" exhale just a breath, a small cry which is quickly swallowed up by the next bottom feeder, with the food chain itself growing larger and more desperate at the bottom and increasingly rarified at the top.

This is the essence of Facebook whose narcotic is the enticement of a validation that's quickly flushed into oblivion. It's almost a paradigm of addiction with hope spiking a high, followed by the come down and the need for another dose of fleeting attention. Evanescence is the constant in this equation. And yes, it's very much like flushing the toilet. You go on FB and flush your exultation into a chorus of wails and cheers. And here is the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics.

The loudness and frequency of the cry (the number of flushes) is inversely proportionate to the amount of attention you will receive. So if you want to half your infamy, respond to "What's on your mind?" on your Facebook homepage twice as frequently. It's like the lynching victim whose cries for mercy only whet the appetite of the mob. We are all on our way to being silenced. Once you're born you begin to die. But in the current environment naked attention seeking is a recipe for obsolescence. Indifference is a swarm of cyber bees attacking with their own poisonous bytes.

This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.