FACEBOOK is for sure the best social media platform for networking but more-so it seems, for self-aggrandizement, for such is the thought of many. This weighs in on acceptance, self-value, self-worth, continuous applause/likes, and the desired maintenance of a would-be lofty psychological posturing. Facebook has lured and made addicts of many, in that it serves up hope for one of the greatest hierarchical needs of man – that of recognition. Liking the posts of others sometimes has no bearing on what is posted or whether it makes sense, but more so by whom it is posted. Profiles, weddings, graduations and other pictures of outstanding achievements, preferably of Caribbean nationals, are ranked high but so too are pictures that are a bit more risqué. The count is still being tallied as to whether the general preference is for boobs or large bottoms. It is also the medium used for those who would otherwise prefer to be published denominational religionists or advocates of any Black conscious movement, again, preferably where people from the Caribbean are involved, but especially for those affected by homophobia. Most outstanding however, is the level of social comparison and envy with which it comes. It is totally fine for many to broadcast travels or other achievements whether past or present, but woe be unto those who come out of left field to announce anything that threatens to topple the status of others who considered themselves hitherto, at the top of the chain.
To give social media its due would be to say that it has created a democratization of voices that are not necessarily privileged voices with shared common identity but rather a smorgasbord interspersed with insular thoughts and experiences whose expressions are not always rational. These voices get equal time to contradict the perceptions of any individual’s reality even though they are oblivious of the unique organic soup from which one’s life emerged to evolve out of arbitrariness. This is by no means an attempt at completely dumbing down others as it also speaks to an overdue injection into corporate media’s monopoly which now allows the exposing of information that would not, prior to now, become broad knowledge.
But it pulls you in. Even those of us who consider ourselves spiritual aspirants and whose time would be better spend in some state of meditation or doing things that are more progressive, tend to get caught up in the confusion and crap that it often presents. Some actually make futile attempts to change thought patterns that are less than becoming or would under normal circumstances be considered lacking in scope. We too seem to yearn for this acceptance and so we persist in wasting time to research topics or quotes that we believe will be catchy, inspiring, faith bound or prophetic to address this as we barrel through the tunnels of Facebook with our posts to be seen and heard by our electronic friends. We then spend the next day or two mentally predisposed to wondering how many likes we got and actually pulling ourselves away from far more important endeavors to steal a glimpse on an hourly basis to see if the number of likes is growing. Habits such as these become so ingrained that we keep doing them even though we know how trite they are.
Social media may be as psychologically damaging as drinking or taking hard drugs say Hoffman and colleagues whose 2012 finding states that people craved social media more than alcohol and tobacco. Though that in itself is not a bad thing, one must wonder if people may be hitting pause on continuing education or creating the next best product to enable financial and time freedom, in preference for time spent on social media. A study done by Duke University found that habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. That speaks to the amount of time and thought that goes into “working” on Facebook.
What is most interesting is that the vast amount of Black people from the Caribbean and elsewhere who would normally speak against White domination, wealth and supremacy, continue to run down the road in their support of the same thing they would have opposed in years gone by. Harriet Tubman’s quote is very relevant here: “I freed a thousand slaves and I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” It’s just the same old oppression, clothed in today’s fashion.