FOMO is a real MOFO and wanting to be seen isn’t enough anymore.
In an age when we’re all the media, it’s about developing our personal brand and being on message 24/7 across all platforms. The “cult of me” abides by ravenous algorithms that demand feeding fresh content every few hours so you might retain your place at the top of the pile.
You don’t want to return to a lifetime of silence and insignificance so you monetize everything that doesn’t defy language. The shower drain got clogged up with hair again; corn flakes were on special at the grocery store; you’re so bloated you don’t know if it’s beans or baby.
It’s the online equivalent of getting stuck at the grocery store checkout and passing the time reading gaudy headlines on magazines that treat humans like circus freaks.
The online garbage patch is growing and drowning us all into a sea of inconsequential content written by people who can barely think. And are quite unwilling to try because challenging opinion and prejudice isn’t as lucrative as servicing confirmation bias.
How can we distinguish signal from noise when the online discourse keeps getting louder?
It stands to reason that those who shout the loudest should deafen all others. Talking all over one another makes dialogue impossible and does not advance our collective knowledge of humanness. Unless said humanness boils down to being obnoxious, entitled, and greedy for fame and fortune.
Only this hero narrative hasn’t aged well; under the current administration, it has come to embody our worst traits. This is where the open obnoxiousness comes from. The constant flow of logorrhea spilling forth from the fingers of Trump has emboldened ordinary citizens to let rip and attempt to command attention in his trademark way.
The world — America included — seems to agree this is not a good look. Further, it is detrimental to our collective mental health.
Tech could have pulled the plug on the presidential megaphone but instead it amplified the noise until it became signal.
There is no shortage of online parvenus who have coopted the modus operandi of Trumpian communication regardless of political affiliation.
This goes to show that stupidity is as non-partisan as patriotism should be. Are we really supposed to believe that fighting mediocrity with more mediocrity is a sign of emotional intelligence?
And when we’re all emoting behind our screens, alone but for the glow of our second and even third screens, wringing our hands in despair, what then? We have all those online disciples but nothing to preach, no friend to call because our every interaction is transactional.
Everyone is a contact, an acquaintance at best, a friend if you’re really into the belief that the human animal is inherently good and not remotely prone to misrepresentation.
But who even are we without an audience and what happens when the connection fails and the signal drops and the sites break and the internet stalls?
Does life run out of battery every time our smartphone does?
Or do we still know how to experience it, unrecorded, unfiltered, unabridged and without any thought about how to monetize it later?
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.