The internet can create an illusion of interconnectedness. Similar interests (music, sports, pop culture, etc.) connect people. That’s not new news. These connections take a part in shaping our society by creating, merging and shifting subcultures. Since the introduction of the internet and social media, it has become much easier to zone in with those similar to us. Which is fine, to a degree, but it presents this new opportunity to shut out the rest. Everything from beauty ideals to political views are affected by these bubbles of social beliefs. Monkey see things like me; monkey do things like me.
Even though we aren’t beating on our chests and baring our choppers like other primates, humans still have this primate instinct to express with visual cues. As more social users curate their lives, traditional ideas of what it means to be a “brand” are shifting. As Dr. Brie Linkenhoker Ph.D puts it, “we evolved to be primates who interact with a limited number of other primates. We didn’t really evolve to make our brands or our beliefs known to thousands or millions, and to process what those people think about us.”
According to a Viacom Velocity study, 70 percent of Millennials choose activities that will give them things to post. They’re putting out a filtered version of themselves, taking in a filtered version of the world … and the façade continues. The accessibility of status and influence appears ripe for the picking online. But bottom line is our reality is experiencing hyper-distortion. And that’s when expectations can turn rotten. What is happening on these screens isn’t always real, but it always has real effects.
Without challenging our views of the world, we become stagnate – plain and simple. Paying attention to how we use technology helps ensure it is making positive additions to our lives. Set your privacy settings. Use the platform features to your advantage. Put the power in your hands. If our phones are going to be smart, we should be, too. Things are pretty bananas these day, but it’s only a slippery slope if we let it be.