Forever young

Social media is the platform we should be able to represent our true selves – our values, thoughts and ideas thrown, complete, into a mixing pot of similar and contrasting perspectives. Mark Zuckerberg stressed the importance of not limiting ourselves to a select feed of information, seeing only a singular perspective, but to establish an online community in which to learn, and ‘share new ideas’.

Despite the invitation to connect with each other over social media, instead we are trapped behind these faceless interfaces – losing the ability to communicate openly, honestly and emotively with those around us.

For example, how does seeking to establish a community, in the truest meaning of the word, work when we censor our Facebook feeds? By unfollowing an individual on Twitter or Instagram, because we took a dislike to their ‘new ideas’, how can we form a well-rounded interpretation of the world as seen by others?

Texts and emails replace the written letter, painstakingly constructed and each word etched by hand. Facebook streamlines the organisation of intimate parties, each invitee just a mouse click away. We no longer need to create personal invites – instead, ‘add’ so and so to the event. On here, our photographs are stored, timeless, in albums we can share with our ‘friends’.  Instagram assists the censorship, only this time of ourselves, as we mask our faces with filters, blending out our wrinkles with software, hiding our grey hairs. The elixir of eternal life, we are immortal: online photographs, tweets, blogs, all of it, attributing existence, meaning and worth to the mundane of everyday life.

Community, Zuckerberg suggests through the functions of Facebook, is connecting whilst self-censoring the content we see. Contradiction? Does such a technique, instead, force us to remove our capacity for self-grow and development of wisdom? Are we now timeless, frozen, unable to learn much outside our specified network and, as we age, no longer forced to encounter contradicting opinions?




4 thoughts on “Forever young”

  1. Fascinating questions, and relevant ones. I have been one to largely refuse censoring my feeds. I want and need to consider and engage with those who think very differently than me about everything. Your post prompts another question for me. Mr. Zuckerberg wants us to establish an online community, but then quietly uses algorithms of Facebook’s own choosing to determine who and what I see in my feed. I have over 1,000 friends on Facebook, but Facebook seems to ensure that only a small fraction of them appear in my feed. Is this hypocritical on the part of FB to encourage me to create an on-line community, then manipulate what/who they believe I want that community to be?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Tom.

      I believe the ‘community’ issue is a double-edged sword:

      – on the one side, tailoring a feed (whether user driven, or through coding) to display a custom ‘community’ may encourage collaboration and conversation between similar-minded people. To discuss a certain problem, let’s say coding again, I can see that assisting development by connecting experts in that area. However, this will provide a tailored solution to a very specific problem.
      – however, the other side of the argument you have definitely captured the essence of when discussing the censoring of feeds. How can we expand our minds, through exploration and listening to a broader range of ideas and opinions, if we are not given the option to?

      I do miss the lineal approach Facebook used to take. Now it seems even less likely we will be exposed to ideas without actively seeking them out.


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