The way of using social networks is a topic that has interested me ever since I entered this world a few years ago. I use social networks only for promotional purposes, so as a tool to make known one of my latest published posts or some event that I particularly care about. The vast majority of people do not use them for marketing purposes but share their life moments with others. This aspect is especially true if you think of real profiles and not profiles linked to a video game or a virtual world.
The first times of exploration and knowledge of social networks were the most interesting, in my opinion. People shared for the pleasure of showing something they understood could be useful to others as well, so they made a particular selection of content. A place, a club, a musical event in which they had participated, and thought could also interest other people.
Over time, social networks and their “stage charm” took over, transforming people who enjoyed being of help to people who shared any selfie, any moment of their life for the sole (and clear) purpose of having likes and comments. In the era of “glebe selfies“, as the Italian philosopher Diego Fusaro masterfully calls them, it becomes imperative to show oneself to satisfy one’s selfish sense of approval. The interesting aspect is that showing up is not just about the positives, but is a larger stage, including malaise, physical problems, surgery, and even the change of sex is served along with coffee and the morning paper.
You will tell me, but what’s the harm. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Nothing if the purpose is not to obtain the approval of others. Nothing if sharing does not alienate life, it does not lead people to disconnect from reality. But it is also true that if the purpose is not the reaction of the people who read, why share?
My generation’s beauty is that you are “vintage” enough to remind you of what life was like before Social Networks. When you were at school and went on a trip, you spent time with your classmates; you lived in the present and to the end, those moments of joy whose memories give, as adults, precious moments of nostalgia. In the age of the iGen, the generation of always connected and always online, when kids go on a trip, spend time with their heads on smartphones and do not interact with each other (or interact via their smartphone). No attention to the present moment, no participation, just walking around because you have to when the mind is elsewhere.
How do you get out of this vortex of self-centeredness and alienation?
I don’t think the best way is to cut ties and shut down all the social networks we have. We live in a society where everyone uses them, and they can also be beneficial. Instead, I think that everything passes through the understanding that the Social Network is the tool to do something, not the end. Facebook is useful for finding information, so why not use it for this purpose? (Always paying attention, because even Facebook conveys information where it suits you). This awareness also makes us feel that we are in control of our lives and are masters of our emotions. Having many likes can also give us pleasure (in the moment), but over time more and more are sought, and emotional dependence is born. It is very different from those who enter a social network for a reason, absolve it and leave—much more self-control, much more self-centering.
Of course, it is not easy, in an era where everyone, even those who should be an example of self-control for their role, lets themselves go to a selfish use of the social network.
However, I believe it is worth trying to educate today’s young people, who are our future, because people with their heads in their smartphones are distracted and, therefore, manipulable. A doubt arises: is it not that they want us just like that?