Written by: Andre Spivey of Perform Within Inc.
Here we are in a world of increasing technology, increasing attention and a new wave everyday of social media superstars. Social media has in fact turned the entire world into stars that watch each other, most are on the lower end of stardom, Z-List I suppose, but there are others at the top of the heap. It is much easier to become a social media star than an actor, singer or famous rapper or athlete, so stardom is now at the edge of our fingertips 24/7. Humans were addicted to popularity long before seeking it was incentivized by money. Before we were fully human, we had a desire to climb the social ladder within our packs and tribes. Morals have quite often clashed with our desire to be popular or famous. or even being infamous garners recognition and even generates funds, nowadays even quicker than a standard true talent. Who doesn’t want to reach for the lights?
There are a multitude of reasons why we seek lights, often the lights bring internal security, they temporarily make our life fill purposeful even when we cannot find the purpose. The lights can also bring security as, the more famous you are, the more favored you are, and all too often receive protection from the pack. The light stimulates you with shots of dopamine levels like drugs. The ability to turn these lights on at anytime has changed society, perhaps for the worse, but others argue that not enough data is there to prove that conclusion. The addiction to these lights, however, has changed some of the morals and feelings that we have naturally. Desperate people begin to chase the lights which are represented by likes and followers. Many will do anything to gain more. Some are cult-like in their measures and lifestyles surrounding social media. In the past only television, religious leaders, movie stars and musicians were able to gather a cult following, now anyone with a smartphone has their shot of gathering a cult following. The vast majority of people avoid attempts to do so, but for many the ease and temptation is too readily available to resist. Some people resort to telling complete lies, some benign, such as pretending to have more money than they have. Lies such as using filters to change their body shape. There are also even more extreme levels, and some people lie about having children, being married, engaged, pregnant, even fake job announcements. Fame and popularity are so addictive that those in the underworld of criminal activity will risk their freedom for a taste of it. We have seen people shot in the head, rather than pick up the phone and dial 911, they start recording their own near death.
The average individual stops short of telling huge lies about themselves or their enemies or those whom they do not like simply for revenge or attention, but there are a select few and increasingly more willing to do so. Studies show that people are missing out on some real-life enjoyment lost in the world of social media, but important to humans on our hierarchy of needs is social interaction and acceptance. There is a need for balance or a deeper discussion on the limits to which we control ourselves and our addiction, but at this point the high is not high enough. We have not hit rock bottom yet, so we doubled down, we want to enter the metaverse fully, we want to enter the virtual world to escape the real world and feel this dopamine even deeper. This article is not about solutions, it is about awareness, this is admitting the world’s addictions. Hollywood made us all stars in our own movie, and we all have higher week in week out viewers than we ever expected. Are we addicted zombies or monsters in our own horror film? Can we turn our movie into that of triumph, underdogs becoming benevolent heroes? We see tragedy, suicide, inappropriate and negative energy on social media, but the hit feels good, so we share the dirty needle. Let’s stop, think and sober up.
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