Cookies and Capacitors

Online Hypocrisy

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 8:00PM

How does it make you feel, seeing only the highlights of your old friends' lives? What are we doing, talking to everyone, but not really talking to anyone – posting for validation? How does that make you feel: seeing only the best of everyone else, concealing the unattractive bits, and limiting your astounding experiential range to a few sentences?

Back in forensics, we occasionally poked fun of those who practiced by speaking to a wall. Ha! Who talks to a wall? What losers. That wall isn’t going to tell you how amazing you sound.

We create a character for ourselves; no one broadcasts themselves truthfully. All of us are masters at public representation, posting everything that makes us look enviable and nothing that shines an ugly light to illuminate the truth. Even when a post seems vulnerable or self-pitying, that’s a ploy: a way to pull the strings above the stage as part of a grand plan.

We mold our images into a caricature. Some may say that’s the definition of personality, but I think that’s a lie. Personality: what makes you a person. True personality shines bright when you’re in a dark room with someone special. Someone who you’ve endowed with absolute trust, with whom you can invite into your mind and talk about everything that has actual importance; probably the arts, politics, most likely philosophy, the grand question of why things are the way they are, where we end up after we leave, what we’ll do once we arrive to the next place, and what becomes of the world after we’ve left and unable to witness the rest of forever.

In that moment of pure trust and discussion of why we’re people, is the only time I’ve felt undoubted happiness and content with life. In those few hours, discussing questions so unanswerably broad that nobody has any credibility comprehending, our authentic character speaks. Encapsulating and compressing such gargantuan ideas into such small words, spitting out everything we legitimately wanted to say, stopping to take a breath and realizing that the world has changed, and we’re almost done with the game.

Here, online, we’re terrified to let others conjure any perception of ourselves that defies our self-marketing. Who are they to tell us what we are? It’s easier to whip up an image and relentlessly crush it down the throats of everyone with a news feed, without even asking if anyone wanted to hear it; nobody accurately represents themselves.

In this age where non-stimulants get ignored, all that ignorance feels a hell of a lot like neglect. Ah, the hypocrisy.