#Authentic or #SameAsEveryoneElse
“Uniqueness” from millennials on social media tends to look the same as everyone else. We live in an individualistic culture where we love the sayings, “Just be yourself,” and “Don’t care what other people think!” But we millennials don’t abide by these modern day American proverbs. Rather, we trick ourselves into thinking that how we are acting is individual and isn’t like everyone else.
One of my favorite quotes is from the Incredibles when Mrs. Incredible is talking to Dash. She says, “Everyone’s special, Dash.” Dash mutters back, “Which is another way of saying no one is.” When everyone is trying to be different it creates a culture of sameness enforcing Dash’s philosophy that everyone being special actually becomes no one being special.
Now I am not trying to say that each individual isn’t special or unique. The point I want to get across is the fact that online, and on social media, there is an element of sameness. Posts are similar, pictures are similar, the trending articles are similar. Therefore, the information we are receiving is similar, creating a culture of sameness. Sarah McCarty, an arts and culture journalist remarked:
“People who spend a lot of time on social media customize a universe by choosing people to follow and to friend and allowing others to follow and to friend them. Everything you share and everything they share circulates within that customized world, creating a shared experience—a sort of miniature monoculture. Each person in your social media bubble also builds his or her own universe, circulating some of the same articles and memes, which then penetrate another personalized universe. Eventually, the majority of these individual spheres synchronize, all hearing, reading or watching the same thing.”
The Need for Acceptance
Regardless of how “unique” we wish to appear, we really only post what we want others to see. Social Psychologist Jean Twenge remarked that social media is, “a constant reminder of our need for belonging.” According to Twenge (Psychology Ph.D), our culture is encouraging people to put on a “brave face” without facing the reality that we do care. We do care what people think of us. “So even in the nakedly individualistic culture of twenty first century America, being loved and accepted by others is a very important part of our happiness and self-concept.”
Think about this: Why do we even have the option of liking or commenting on social media platforms if not to validate that person’s photo, which is representative of the person themself? If everyone was authentic and actually didn’t care about what other people thought, would there be a need to have other people like it? Or would you post solely to update others without needing feedback? Wouldn’t you only want people following you who know you because you’re not competing for likes?
The sheer number of people following other people show that we are more concerned about our self validation than actually being “#authentic.”
A People of Sameness
Socality Barbie is a new, funny way to show just how far our authenticity has gone. Although we laugh at these and see the meaning behind the pictures, there is a sadness to the truth that these barbies present. They are just an artistic way to show that everyone is posting the same things, doing the same poses, trying to be authentic. In their attempt at “authenticity” they are losing their individuality and uniqueness along the way. Monoculture.
We are becoming a people of Sameness. Same dress. Same lingo. Same reactions. Same captions, hashtags, and expressions. Same ideas. This Sameness seems to stem from social media. Constant comparing. Need for likes. Are we really just trying to find acceptance and love from the people around us? When those we know aren’t enough to fulfill the need for acceptance, are we moving to those we don’t know…thinking that their “likes” will fill the void that it’s just not enough?
We are becoming Socality Barbie.
Practical Ways to Resist the Monocultural Monster
Here’s some ways that you can resist becoming a part of the monoculture:
- Don’t take the popular trending stories on Facebook at face value: do the research yourself and find out if the story is credible. It didn’t take long for me to realize that a lot of people were getting fired up over trending stories that never actually happened.
- Think before you post: what is the purpose of my post? Social media is great for keeping up with friends, but I don’t want to see what they’re doing every second of their lives. Just please don’t be that person, “Just chillin today.” No one really cares.
- Try not to compare your life to everyone else’s life. A post isn’t an accurate representation of how people actually live. Enjoy your life as it comes instead of always wanting something more.
To resist the monocultural, confidence is key. Don’t fall into conforming and blind belief of things online that our culture is constantly falling prey to. Think differently. Remember that social media isn’t bad itself, but can be harmful if not used correctly. Remember to always #BeAware.