Technology and the Bursting of the Personal Bubble

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Posted May 11, 2015 by Spencer Maxwell in Tech

One of the sole reasons for advancing technology is to bring people together. With accessibility improving, so is our connection to the entire globe. Communication has expanded and improved so much, that it has gone far past what we want to say. Now, everybody is everywhere. Having an online presence essentially means inviting anyone into your personal space.

With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, we are able to easily connect to those around us. What started off as communicating for necessity has declined into more of a vehicle to be heard. Keeping in touch with your friends has transformed into keeping tabs on them. We know now what everyone is doing all the time.

The progress of social media has also greatly established our constant need for attention. Rather than keeping your friends in the loop, there’s significantly more focus on everyone shouting: “Hey, look at me!” The majority of statuses or pictures are people rubbing their accomplishments or ramblings in your face. The boundaries diminish as we go unfiltered to the mass of people we are connected to online, but barely know in actuality. So much emphasis is put on appearing good for everyone else. With everyone watching, it’s hard not put on your best face.

It’s not all positivity, or in some cases a feigned version of it. Some like to remove the social formality and let the world know who they really are. Social media is also a podium to express your controversial opinions, whether they be for movement or hatred. The ability to let everyone know what they’re thinking without looking them in the eye removes the need for a filter.

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With social media connecting us to everything, much of our private lives have evaporated. It’s almost a choice not have a private life. The government and the creators of many programs have all the information that’s kept hidden to everyone else. Even our most intimate moments have the potential to be broadcast by hackers. The leaks of SnapChat and from The Fappening provided us with the knowledge that even safeguards fail. It seems to say that what you present on an electronic device could be presented to anyone.

One of the problems with social media is that people tend to overestimate their importance. With so many people connecting to one another, they think everything they have to say has value regardless of the information or context. So much stake is put into filling up one’s friends list as much as possible. It’s more of a sign of social status than it is reaching out to loved ones. Many seem to confuse this with people they are tightly knit to.

And by this virtue, it puts so much emphasis on the lives of celebrities. We have the ability to connect to those we idolize (and sometimes despise), because we want to be at least disparately attached to those in the public eye. With so many people paying attention to what they post next, it presents their value to us. Social media is even more problematic for them, as everything they do is seen by the masses. Their private lives are shown everywhere; the good, the embarrassing, and the tragic. I pay no attention to Ariana Grande and have never heard of Big Sean, but all the details of their breakup were everywhere. If you were online, it was unavoidable. Certain people are constantly on full display, and that may or may not be from their choosing.

With the potential to be everywhere, people felt free to not think twice about their presence on the World Wide Web. The mindset that there is so much content, that everything you do will just get flooded over is partly true. But there is permanence on the internet, once it’s there it never goes away. There is something haunting about the fact that everything you’ve done online is there forever. We have to be mindful of our presence everywhere. The internet is a big part of our lives and the persona we provide is partially part of our true self.

 

With all of the benefits of social media we still have the problem of disguising ourselves from the masses. The internet gives us the potential to better present who we truly are, and better see others. The mask of social convention is much more removed while still giving us some semblance of anonymity. As safe as you can be online, your statuses connect to everyone just as your intimate conversations would. We have access to almost everyone at our fingertips, but the trade off is we don’t have the rapport of generations past. As technology improves and different forms of communication arise, we have more difficulty hiding who we are and what we’re doing.

 


About the Author

Spencer Maxwell

I write about pretty much everything surrounding nerd culture. @CSpencerMaxwell