Posted by: GeekHiker | February 27, 2007

The Web: It’s All About Meeeeee!

I’ve been saying it for years, and now there’s a study to back me up: the web is making everybody think only about themselves and their own importance in the world.

Ironic, this study coming out a mere week after I started this little blog, with the comment:

“Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism,” Twenge said. “By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube.”

At least the WordPress name doesn’t have the terms “I”, “My” or “We” in it.

At first, I was a little concerned: how does this reflect on my baby blog?  After all, I’m old enough to remember much earlier days on the web; hell, my first web experience and e-mail accounts were on a UNIX VAX system: no graphics, just green text on black, and smileys really were made out of characters in the ascii set, not cute little animated gif files.  While the web has certainly come a long way since then, it’s hard not to notice how much of the web has become about people putting their entire lives on it.  Beyond saying that it’s narcissistic and that it comes from the constant push for self esteem in our children, the article able doesn’t really comment on why so many people feel the need to do this.  Is it caused by some desire to participate in a shared activity?  Peer pressure?  The need to be famous?  Because “everybody’s doing it”?  I’m not sure.  There are parts of my life I’d certainly like to remain private; heaven help us if, at some point, everyone is required to have a presence on the web.  Already, some find themselves regretting it when employers check their MySpace pages and finding out that, on the weekends, they’re rampaging drunks.  I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I’ve never been in the position to hire someone, so I can’t say what I would do, were I presented with the option.

When you think about it, it even extends beyond the web-pages themselves to technology itself.  Apple has the iPod, and soon, the iPhone.  Of course, the content for these devices has to come from iTunes, and then one can make recommendations on your MySpace page.  In fact, did anybody notice that “MySpace” became more popular than “Friendster”?  Who cares about friends, it’s all about “my space” on the web!  At least one of the latest gaming consoles is called the Wii, which I think means you’re supposed to play with someone else, rather than locked in your room by yourself.

Maybe it’s all just an extension of the car: the moment we were able to move from place to place without having to share the journey with others (by train, streetcar, ship, etc.) we started moving into a culture that became all about us.

So, what of this little blog that I started?  Does this make me narcissistic?  Am I driven by some burning desire to share my life with the world, that someone should read the really, really important things I have to say?

I worried for a brief moment that that might be the case, until I reminded myself that I don’t really give a damn if anyone is reading this blog or not.  If someone reads and wants to comment, that’s fine, I’d certainly be interested in what they had to say, but if that doesn’t happen, it’s not going to trouble me that much.  Really, in the end, this is an easy, simple way to keep a journal, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do but could never hand-write fast enough to be satisfied with.  Hopefully, in the process and over time, my writing will improve as well.

Wait a minute, looking over that last paragraph, all I see are “I’s’ and “my’s”.  Damn you, irony, damn you…

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