Social Media is a haunting community of ghosts who are not only afraid or weary of the absence of their own presence but the presence of those that are absent from them. Initiating a performance between these two states where they are unaware or unable to identify if their thoughts, actions or resting soul can be seen, hunted and dissected.
Their movements and interactions are steeped with superstition, not knowing whether they can be seen and so act in such a way as if they were, modifying their behavior at the present moment and foreseeable future. This locks them into a perpetual anxiety-induced enforced performance whereby if caught not doing, they risk becoming non-existent. Such as how one might change, control, manipulate, or censor their behavior or actions, with a heightened sense of self-consciousness, when one walks around their room or house stark naked, with no real way of being seen, yet are aware that every movement they make, every action they perform for as long as they are in this condition (that of being naked), could be spotted and caught out for being the selves we wish were not seen. Thus, for as long as they are in this superstitious condition of being seen and performing for a potential non-existent other, they act in a way that maintains their appearance and holds up to their own ideals of self. This condition of being naked, I believe, is analogous to the condition of being on social media, except, we are now at a point where the interaction with social media and the internet is somewhat of an enforced participation where one’s clothes are never coming back on and left forever naked, forever voyeured, forever paranoid, forever performing for the invisible other, the community of ghosts. We have no option of being a slave to a system of the commodification of self for fear of potentially being an outcast to an ever growing community, a community with which we would inevitably be left behind and alienated.
The phones we have tied to out waist are the ghosts, the alternative spirit of the individual.
We have to perform in order to survive or prolong the anxiety of being caught out for not doing, for not performing, for not being or seen or noticed for who we really want to be or for whom a system wants us to be. It is an anxiety of performing just enough to keep our heads above the water, away from drowning into non-existence. So long as we engage we prevent the risk of humiliation done onto ourselves and others done onto us.
But, this anxiety or fear of not performing is by no means irrational. Due to the reason that one’s identity is formed from the development of socialization, as well as individuation, and a collaboration among the community. And to not participate with social media, to take hold of your own identity, is to allow others who know or don’t know you to form, meld or create your identity on your behalf, and thus you really do risk the fear of becoming something your not, and so you then feel somewhat forced to make an identity for yourself relative to who you think you are, who you would like to be parried with what others think of you and what the system potentially imposes onto you. It is an enforced freedom to be and show who we really want to be for if not, your freedom to your own identity is created for you. The confusion over one’s sense of identity is the result of the paradox that if one chooses not to perform or participate, to however much degree, your identity online, as well as the intermingling with your real-world identity, is created for you. And so, if you do decide to participate and form your own identity, it is only because you now act in such a way that you don’t risk becoming non-existent which means your own sense of an authentic identity is compromised and essentially obscured. Thus a catch-22 happens with result to one’s own sense of authenticity that effectively hinders your well-being.