Facebook and the rise of personality disorders


We have always liked to put on a show. It has been a secret desire buried deep inside us. Not a secret anymore, if you are aware of your Facebook notifications while reading this. Most people would like to be seen as beautiful or handsome or smart or other things that make them cool - all the time (which 'was' sadly not possible in real life).  I think Facebook (a more generic term would be Social Media but, lets go with FB for now) has provided that dark room where you can create and project your 'other side'

Take a closer look at your friends' photo albums. Its hard not to notice that professional photography has clearly gained with the rise of FB. There was always a need for pro-photos, but on rare occasions or specific careers. There was no need for a 13 year old teen to get professional help for their profile pictures in order to project a 'sick' image (for the uninitiated: 'sick' has replaced 'super-awesome-cool' in contemporary culture). I feel old as I start to classify 'contemporary' as something I am not a part of. Sad but true. 

Take sharing 'links' on Buzz or Linkedin or FB or Twitter, for instance. The other day I started to discuss Kurosawa's obsession with weather to discover that the person who 'liked' Rashomon had no knowledge or interest his movies. I had to basically opt out of the discussion just to save him the embarrassment (proof that I have begun respecting the social structure around me, although my wife would disagree). 

It's not just people, but internet savvy organizations/ companies/ colleges that leave no stone unturned to create and maintain a better-than-real virtual image. Actually coming to think of it - it was always expected of businesses to promise more than their competitors. This behavior has now translated into the usual social norm. Maybe peer pressure is no longer limited to teens? It is difficult to explain middle-class-families or "in-a-relationship" couples paying for a pro-photo session (even if it was through a Groupon) with the outcome only to be lauded on Facebook. 

5 comments:

  1. I fully agree with the basic thought behind the paper. Its a normal human tendency to look for self thereafter close blood relations in any group photo/ photo album. Because of this we more often dont look at many things or miss out the background. If we agree to this tendency then obviously one would like to go for professional photo shoot and share so as to get desired appreciation.
    There are people like me who are busy only deleting albums and try to share something where friends have some interest.
    Any interest that we find in the environment is cultivated in a very professional way by the business magnets and create a competitive scenario. Colleges/groups/clubs and so called socialites feel that they should not lag behind or called outdated and jump into bandwagon. Even top celebrities, politicians, sports persons have also got roped into this phenomena.

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  2. T.- people need to pretend, because we are inherently insecure and longing for acceptance and "success" (probably due to early childhood and upbringing, not to be too Freudian about it). In fact a lot of human endeavor is about that. Trying to become something that the society values, and thereby establishing your self worth and alleviating your fears at the same time.

    All fashion is about this, including tech. products these days. So not surprising that people click photos for FB etc.

    I think what's more interesting is how people have used the internet to justify a sort of attention deficit disorder- switching between tasks (gmail, FB, blogs, YouTube, work, gmail, article, work etc.) continually. So they can give themselves a sense of busyness and therefore importance.

    Old Psychology in New Bottle.

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  3. Right said Fred! :)

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  4. Must say you have hit the nail on the head. It had become a very common sight teenagers and even 20-somethings posing in malls, restuarants, in fact all public places to get that right profile pic. As u knw i am nt a user of FB but i have come to recoginze when profile pics are being clicked, they have to have the right lighting the right background and the right face angle. Its not so much a memory but a bragging right i was there and i looked gud.

    As for the sick phenomenon, just look how widespread the "planking" effect was everyone wanted to be part of it. Earlier the smaller social circles allowed people to be themselves and grow at their own pace but this public society has bought forth the narcissism in everbody. As FB exposes all ur faults and shortcomings publicly, so most ppl are following thinking - if u can't beat them join them. Everyone is projecting this perfect, unreal image of themselves becoming what they think they need to be to attract and retain attention and increase their brand value.

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  5. But having said all that - you should still join FB :) You have no right to not waste your time with us over there.

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