The Sirens of the Internet


Decades ago people jokingly referred to television as the boob tube; they had no idea how heinous a monster we would make that machine once we swapped out the cathode tube for a plasma screen and implanted some interactive buttons on it. Technology has advanced our society in so many ways yet hidden behind the veil of its bells and whistles there is a dark halo which taunts us and I for one wonder where this will lead us. Social media sites connect people with one another allowing us to share stories and swap images of our lives but mixed in that soup of information is a suggestive herb that acts like a heroin. I am constantly bombarded with these quizzes like ‘What Famous Person in History Are You Most Like?’ or ‘What Personality Trait Describes You Best?’. For the most part I can see that these little quick quizzes are nothing more than keys being jingled in the baby’s face but do they leave us running to the screen in moments of self doubt to get an ego boost?
The Age of Information is upon us and right now two things people want are money and to be recognized. The first one escapes a vast majority of us and seems an unlikely candidate to show up at our door however we all have seen how quickly a video of something bizarre or stupid or cute can become ‘viral’. Anyone can have the world peer at them for a moment; Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame prediction has come to life and once you experience it, the ego is bathed in a warped kind of love that leaves us wanting more. These tests that ask ‘What Kind of Color Are You?’ always end with a positive, like a modern day version of the fortune cookie….there are no bad fortunes in a cookie.
So where’s the harm in all this you ask? I see the harm coming from a sugar laced evaluation of you so no matter how big an asshole you are in real life if you take the test and click on the buttons you’ll find that you’re a more tolerable individual that you may have thought. It’s our own form of the Special Olympics; everyone’s a winner. We all know the reality is that we are not all winners. In fact there are a lot of fucked up individuals in the world but if they aren’t confronted enough by lives souls will continue to be deluded by the sirens of the internet. As for the Warhol syndrome that too can be taken to an ill extreme. I’m all for seeing a video about how someone was clever enough to teach me how to improve my life or perform some amazing tune or live draw a picture but someone who feels they have to harm another person to get a laugh online is becoming twisted in the wrong direction.
All I’m suggesting is, if you need some ego stroking, go hunt up a friend and get a drink together. Talk with a good compadre, meet new folks but don’t continue to rely on that little quiz on the internet because that test was not conceived by someone with a PhD in psychology. It was created by someone wanting you to up their site click ratings. There really are a lot of marvelous things in the real word as well as on the internet world…don’t let either lull you into a false sense of contentment.


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