The modern age affords every person in the developed world the remarkable ease of living and doing things. We arrived at a point where the standards of easy and hard have shifted dramatically compared to past social periods. Hard became something along the lines of getting a book recognized independently (as opposed to firstly needing the right to free expression) or getting customers to your new coffeshop on Second and Main (as opposed to being extorted by the local mob upon opening), whereas easy is now getting these things done through crowdfunding or advertising from the Internet at home in less than an hour. Thats roughly a 100 year gap between the standards of what could be done with serious ambition and effort and what can now be done with technology at your disposal. Not very long when you think about it.
On our end of the line, when the Internet exploded, we applied this to communication. Forums, Blogs and eventually social media and the whole culmination of Web 2.0 emerged from the machine. We eagerly grasped it as a normal medium in our circulation within a few short years, and we ended up with insane amounts of communities, exchanges of ideas, and information and reporting became an instant standard. Knowing me, I could go on.
This became apparent in activism as well — namely Chanology and Occupy. People got messages across worldwide and connected with media outlets in correlation with the massive access to expressive tools. It became impossible for corruption to simply hide in the shadows without it being leaked and beamed off one Twitter account or report to another. People jumped aboard all of this while it was new and sunk into their corner of the appropriate public discourse, people like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky: Acting and speaking first, and dealing with their image and biography later, circa 1999 – 2010.
Bringing it all up to now and maybe the last three or four years, we see a different course in emerging personalities taking place, most likely a consequence of the immense ease of getting things out. People, especially young ones, investing more in making the qualities of their personality and aspirations the formost bold points in the first-impression portion of outlets and communities, rather than focusing that energy into actually doing things or what they’re capable of.
Understandably, many will overlook this aspect as people simply being enthusiastic in what they do: Perhaps they just want this information up front so people know what they’re about. And thats completely fine, but the problematic area is outlined when we see this being a bigger trend on its own. It became increasingly obvious that its a matter of some people looking to fit into a mold before having a genuine interest in something, or at least a partial one. The scourge of “Lol yeah I’m a total nerd” that the technical crowd endured when CBS’s The Big Bang Theory became a thing was an early example, one that people could sniff out and cringe at in a moment’s notice.
Or maybe people are simply far more self-important, rather than it being mere feigning. Perhaps legitimate content-creators and people in certain positions are just more likely to be obnoxious fucks.
Either way, understanding and inferring on the origin of these attitudes is something I think is key in making critical points on why creativity and originality seems to be fleeting, among other things.
In basic terms, [some] young people grasp onto something like activism, publishing, programming, etc. — mainly things which allow a division for oneself — and either commit a good deal of energy to expressing how they feel within that group, or simply use what they’ve grasped onto as a platform for personal expression. The underlying theme is a sense of mild ego that overlaps the purpose of what they do just enough to produce a sense of revulsion.
Where this comes from might be of a few simple factors. The most obvious one to me, as touched on earlier, is the way information and platforms are so accessible. How people can join onto something, start saying anything and make themselves appear how they want. But thats more of a means than an initial influence, which can’t be totally pinned down. But what I can speculate (and potentially be called an asshole for suggesting so) is that its a desire to find anything that one can mold into and use as a foundation for who they are. It isn’t something malicious or tragic so much as its something people should recognize and learn to tone down for the sake of the responsibilities they burden themselves with.
My generation obviously has an ingrained want of belonging and communion, something reasonable and good for the advancement of cultures and social experimentation. But in the case where it blurs out the legitimate work of communities they join, that has to stop if we want to see a balance of things being done and people expressing themselves.
Lets be clear that we shouldn’t doubt the legitimacy of someone because of their personality, since what they do is what counts. But when what they mostly do is interject their biases or personal motives, its a real problem.
Nor should we curtail enabling the level of exchange and speech that we have today. Expression, discussion, information-sharing and the means of making these things more common are gifts and should be protected and expanded, no doubt at all. What balances everything out is recognizing the potential power of your access to the world sitting at your desk before you make everything about yourself picture-perfect and end up wasting that potential. Do something new and great, and then worry about getting people gravitated to you.