Saturday, May 6, 2023

#126 / Look At Me!!!


The picture above is from the March 28, 2023, edition of The Wall Street Journal. Ann-Marie Alcántara, in her article on "Why People Are Getting More Disruptive At Concerts," tells us that: 

Concert season is in full swing, with Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and other artists dominating calendars in the coming months. But a new villain is hurting the experience for many: superfans seeking five minutes of social-media fame.

Homemade signs, screaming teenagers and bouncing beach balls aren’t new to concerts. What has changed is that, largely thanks to TikTok, any moment of a concert can go viral. More fans are trying to force that moment to happen with wild shenanigans, annoying noises or demands on artists to play unusual songs.

That desire to create a quick piece of content to share online has become a buzzkill for everybody else at the show.
I think that there is a human desire - in fact, a genuine human need - to "be seen," to be recognized. We can validate the fact, and importance, of our own existence by the recognition we get from others. I have no claim to any great expertise in psychology; however, I think that this is a well-recognized psychological truth. Our individual ability to function, and to succeed, depends, to some significant degree, to the fact that our existence and actions are "recognized" by others (and hopefully recognized in some "positive" way). 
Is, however, the "recognition" we might receive "online," on "the internet," actually the kind of validation that can sustain and ultimately support us, fragile individuals that we are? Is TikTok really the road to the kind of recognition that we seek? That's the question that came to my mind as I read Ann-Marie Alcántara's article in The Wall Street Journal. Another article, in the next day's edition of The Wall Street Journal, raised the question again. That article, "There's Money Behind The Camera on TikTok," suggests that the road to the kind of recognition that can sustain a person's sense of self-worth may best be found "behind" the camera, not in front of it.

I want to suggest - and, remember, I make no claim for any expertise in psychology - that the kind of personal "validation"  and "recognition" we need to maintain our sense of personal worth, thus freeing us to be creative and successful in whatever we seek to do, is best obtained by interactions with "real people," in "real life," doing "real things" that we, and others, believe are important. 

My views about this, I hope, cause no surprise. I don't advise looking for validation by creating "viral videos." I recommend "talking to strangers" and getting involved, with others, in movements for social, economic, and political change. 

This is just a suggestion! 
Instead of "Look at me," How about, "look at US!" Look what we're doing, together, to change the world. 

That could be pretty impressive! Working with others, to change the political realities that define the world in which we actually live, can provide a genuine sense of validation and self-satisfaction. 

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