I made a thing about Facebook and sharing people’s work.
Inspired by Melissa McEwan’s recent experience having her work reposted without credit. Don’t do that.
[Content note: This post mentions struggles with self-acceptance and self-sacrificial mindsets.]
On my way out the door, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Something about it–maybe my outfit, maybe the way my hair is doing a thing–makes me smile. Before I step out, I pull out my phone, thrust out my arm, and–selfie.
Last week, I finally got around to one of those tasks I’d been putting off and went through my cell phone photos from the last nine months. Most were quick snapshots that I freely discarded; the rest I tagged and categorized on my computer. In doing so, I confirmed what I’d been strongly suspecting: I’ve been taking a lot of selfies.
Oh, selfies, the phenomenon we love to hate. Scroll through the opinion section of any site frequented by readers over 35, and you’re guaranteed a column decrying selfies and the narcissistic, tech-addicted generation that takes them. Occasionally, when a researcher at the University of Everything’s Changing and I Don’t Like It or the What’s Wrong With the Youths Institute publishes a study confirming Millennials’ inflated egos with Science, you’ll even find selfies outside of Opinion.
“Selfies are for the selfish,” opines Kelly Iverson, senior at Kansas State. At Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan calls them “a cry for help,” arguing that “young women take selfies because they don’t derive their sense of worth from themselves, they rely on others to bestow their self-worth on them.” Gizmodo declares that the selfie stick–a monopod that allows you to take pictures of yourself from farther away than arm’s length–is an “enabling device that deserve[s] a permanent ban“.
In other words, smartphones and Millennials are ruining everything. Again. Pass the salt.
My friend T lives in the Seattle area. He plays Magic and is quick to respond to bullshit with biting wit. Another friend, H, loves her whiskey, owns many guns, and has an adorable Lab named Annie Lou.
These two people are my friends. I’ve also never met them face-to-face, in what many would consider the “real world”. I know them–and have since I was in high school–thanks to Kingdom of Loathing, where we’re members of the same in-game social “clan”. We’ve never drunk beer together, sure1On numerous occasions, however, we’ve all happened to have been simultaneously enjoying glasses of bourbon, scattered across the country though we are., but I’ve typed a lot of words into clan chat over the years, and they have too. We know each other better than I know many in-person acquaintances.
Using the word “friend” to describe relationships that have never seen so much as a handshake might seem strange. Some might scoff at it, saying that my generation of technology-addicted Millennials is just fooling itself, and that we’re living in an increasingly isolated, asocial world. These criticisms are part of an even broader argument: that the internet and “real life” are two non-overlapping spheres, and that activities in the former are somehow less valuable, less meaningful, or less real than activities in the latter.
You know what? It’s almost 2015. It’s time to accept that the internet is real life.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||On numerous occasions, however, we’ve all happened to have been simultaneously enjoying glasses of bourbon, scattered across the country though we are.|
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