Social media is the new zombies and it’s eating your brains and destroying your relatioshipability and it’s even causing some people to invent words without permission from the OED. The science isn’t in on social media’s impact on the ozone layer but it can’t be good. Social media is ruining sex, love, and spelling. All the kids today are Mr. Hyde and social media is the addictive potion. Depth psychologists have recently discovered that our culture’s collective Shadow is actually social media. Social media is the monster beneath your bed. It’s Azazel’s goat. Life will never be the same. It’s not good anymore. Life is bad now because of social media. Old age, sickness, and death: social media.
When I was a young man, I wrote girls love letters, called them on the telephone, took them to the movies, and we made out like crazy in the basements of their parents’ houses. But the kids today are all “hooking up” via social media, which is a little bit like an expensive fancy way to write love letters and make telephone calls but it’s actually terrible because it’s social media and social media is destroying the existential fabric of what being human means. Again, the kids today are hooking up. The 7 billion people roaming the earth provide ample evidence for the worldwide prevalence of hooking up. But the kids today are using social media to hook up so something must be done about this virus, this menace, this mad rapacious scourge (social media).
The kids today are always looking at their portable devices to indulge the evils of social media. They’re never in the moment. They don’t look at people or rocks or trees. They just look at Facebook and Twitter on their mind numbing social media producing devices. Moments keep happening. The kids look at their social media. This looking occurs in moments; they are in the moment of looking at social media. But social media signals the end of civilization so the kids are not in the right kind of moments. The kids today should be in different moments. Like, moments more like the moments in 1980, or maybe 1950, when moments were better moments to be in. The kids today should watch more TV, like I did, or they should build log cabins with their bare hands and live off wild nuts and berries. The kids today should move to Portland and grow really big beards.
The kids today use social media to bully each other because it’s easier to be cruel when you’re hiding behind a computer. The kids today should be more like Danny and Gary Lockard. Danny and Gary Lockard used to block my way home from school, ruthlessly beat my face, and throw my books in mud puddles. In my day, bullies were brave. Gary and Danny Lockard had a special knack for being in the moment.
I think that perhaps the critique of social media as some entity corroding the thread of human relations might be less about social media in and of itself and more about the archetypal need of the aging to shake their fists at the world as it leaves them behind. We can’t keep up. We don’t understand. And that, the frightening fact of living in a world that we don’t understand (and that doesn’t understand our understanding of what a world is supposed to be), produces widespread theory about the problem with kids today (social media).
Truth: Our kids are going to evolve into radically different forms of adulthood than the adults we are. Upon what ultimate authority, though, can we truly claim that we, as people, are better than the people who will arise in the vastly interesting (and broader) context of social media? Genuinely passing the torch requires a deep trust in our kids and the future’s ability to explode into something new and wonderful, indeed something that they too will cling to as the “rightest” way to be as their own kids re-invent the culture inside of which the meaning of being human comes to be defined.
You can badmouth video games, limit kids’ screen time, decry the sorry state of music, uphold your values as good and necessary and right (which is to say you can be the parents you promised yourself you’d never be), but what you can’t do is stop the world from going where it’s flowing. Social media is here and it’s not going anywhere. Its hand will inevitably be heavy in the creation of new forms of relationship and adulthood and, yes, it’s going to absolutely ruin our lives as we know and understand them. Whether or not that’s a good or terrible thing depends on how tightly you cling to the past versus your ability to keep up with and stay in the moment.
Read more from me at Black Hockey Jesus.
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