For a guy who doesn’t own a TV, I spend an awful lot of time observing other people live their lives. Consequently, sometimes it feels as though I am simply wasting away. I pay attention to what other people do, yet fail to give credence to what is going on in my life. (Try to avoid thinking paradoxically because you could say that me watching people is what is going on in my life.)
If you’re a sports fan, you watch extremely gifted athletes compete week in and week out. It’s something you cannot influence; but you can only observe it. You start to day dream and think, “What if I was on that field, court, or course right now?” But it doesn’t have to be athletes. It can be your own friends, family, and peers. Think about social media for instance. Aren’t Facebook and Twitter mechanisms for watching other people experience life? That brings me to my main dilemma. At its core, is social media driven simply by a deep desire to observe what other people are doing? I.E. watching other people live their lives?
Granted this issue is surrounded in paradox. You could say that watching other people live life is part of living our owns. Therefore, observing other people wouldn’t be so much a desire, but a habitual function. We are communal beings, so it makes sense to spend time observing others. But on the flipside, if we are prone to observe others, how do we decided who will live their life and who will watch?
At this point I want to preemptively avoid any discussion pertaining to what drives social media. Honestly, I think the people who attempt to say social media is one particular thing are full of crap. (I don’t like social media preachers either.) Because of it’s high level of customization, there’s no way to accurately describe it without leaving major factors out of the equation.
Let’s just say for a moment that social media is in fact driven by a desire to watch others for more than a few people out there (everyone has their own subconscious reasons that they don’t fully grasp). Let’s also say that every minute you spend watching someone else live, you could have spent living on your own (again, forget the paradoxes). Would it stand to reason that using social media is in fact depriving you of really living life?
I think that you could make a case for both yes or no, but I think that ultimately an individual must decided for his or herself what it looks like to live life. With that being said, I’ve thought about what this might entail in my own life. I’ve concluded that I am wasting some time, albeit not all, by using social media. I guess I’ll just leave it at that.