It's no secret that social media has made us more comfortable with the idea of self absorption. Yet, in the wake of the recent election results in the United States many of us have been left to question how we interact online and the nature of our seemingly declining morals in exchange for "likes".
It's been a sobering few weeks and it begs that we take a closer look at our culture and how we got here. Social media, smartphones, and selfie cameras have empowered a generation to believe that an Instagram following is all you need in life. A vapid embrace of likes, shares, and retweets is somehow biologically activating the dopamine centers in our brains to make us feel happier. It's getting to the point that we're building a society around technology rather than using to improve our daily lives. And any society that involved "I didn't pull out" pranks (see link above) is one that needs to be questioned.
Look at the recent hatred inspired by the election on both ends of the political spectrum. We're self absorbed and we don't care. Internet comment sections are a literal hellscape where human decency goes to die. As soon as we state something we believe in, someone who disagrees will inevitably show up to attack our character rather than engage in intelligent discussion.
Meaningful issues are rarely examined or questioned and social media has made this okay by allowing us to alienate ourselves from diverse perspectives. We'd rather be sheltered in our own self-fulfilling bubbles filled with selfies and Buzzfeed sad cats than deal with the diverse nature of the outside world.
The above video from The RSA showcases frequent broadcaster and New York Times political commentator, David Brooks, speaking about the decline of moral character in the age of social media. The fascinating animation breaks down just how badly we're losing ourselves in our social media and we're more concerned with being famous than we are with being nice.
We know you've heard it before, but consider just how much time you spend online and how much time you spend worrying about your digital self image. It's probably too much. Be aware, and don't be so narcissistic. There's too much of that shit in the world already.