Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Insecurity Finds a Voice

In this sardonic, but insightful little article, technology is described as a mirror-it reflects our lives the way we wish to see them. We groom ourselves to look as sleek and as perfect as we can be, and then indulge in the narcissism through technology.
But sometimes what you see in the mirror hurts. But even then we can't bring ourselves to look away.
Case in point: Formspring.
That trend had a shelf life of maybe all of two seconds. As it should, of course. Good gracious, what on earth could anyone see in a website that exists so that people can anonymously ask you any question that they want.

In what universe would that lead to any sort of positive interactions?

Questions on Formspring inevitably fall into four categories:

1)The Love Life Variety: "Who do you like?"/"Do you have a crush on _[Fill in the Blank]__?"/"What's going on with you and __[Fill in the Blank]__?"/"I've liked you since middle school, and I'll always be in love with you and you're the most beautiful person in the world?"
2)The Hate Speech Variety: "You're ugly."/"No one likes you, you have no friends."/"Why are you so mean?"/"Are you from a different planet?"/"Do you even go here?"
3)The Pointless Flattery Variety:
"I'm jealous of you, you're really cool! lol"/"I want to be just like you, what makeup do you use? lol"/"Your boyfriend's hot, can I have him? lol"/ "What do you do to be so pretty? lol"
4)The Wannabe an Insider Variety: "Why am I not included in your clique?"/"Are you mad at me?"/"Why do you never say hi to me in the hallway when you pass me on the way to lunch?"/"You and your friends think you're better than everyone else, but you're not."
Oh my.

In the article I linked to, the author discusses how Formspring users kept their profiles, even after being exposed to such hurtful and pointless questions that were asked. The question I was left asking myself was: why? Why would we expose ourselves to that sort of negativity willingly? What is the point in holding an open panel discussion on the oh-so-fascinating topic of yourself?
To paraphrase the Bard:
Lord, what fools we mortals be.

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