Thanks to social media, our lives have become a performance, for a ubiquitous audience that is tuned to every move. There are counter voices that are questioning how much ‘information’ we are now sharing about our lives and blurring of boundaries between public and private lives.
What I find of interest is not just the ‘sharing’ but how we are fundamentally changing who we are for the ‘production’ of that information. ‘Sharing’ seems innocuous because it assumes that something ‘happened’ and it was merely ‘distributed’ to a network of people with an interest. In reality, each one of us has become media and beyond a point, there is not enough content to broadcast. We need to churn out and produce more content to keep our audience engaged.
This mindless preparation for this 24/7 spectacle leaves us with no opportunity (or inclination) to think of our lives beyond the audience, to introspect and connect with ourselves. This irony is all the more evident to me at this point as I am on a holiday at this point. I notice travelers and in case of a vast majority can see, there is no real interest in anything that they see and experience. There is a mad rush to strike contrived poses against scenic backgrounds that can be devotedly played to the gallery for their awe and approbation. In one instance, I spotted a tourist at a museum hurriedly clicking pictures of all artifacts without even glancing at any of them. His single point agenda appeared to capture maximum ‘footage’ which he could go back and edit to broadcast himself (perhaps as a lover of art at best or a seasoned traveler at the least). Nature’s inspirational value is reduced to being a mere backdrop as we engage with it at a transactional level as a showcase than really a reprieve from human chaos.
I speak of all of this not as an observer but as a participant. I face the anxiety of being a content producer (compelled to put life/travel together in popular audience templates) and on the other hand trying hard to cling on to simple joys of life.
More about this later.