Social media and its danger of turning us all into Janet Breen.

by Pseud O'Nym

Back in my teenage years, when we’d would get stoned and I would pretend like ‘Pink Floyd’, there was a tendency to say the most outlandishly preposterous thing, but if you claimed it was a line from ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ or some equally new agey book, people would nod their understanding, think you incredibly well read all the while hoping that you weren’t bum sucking the spliff.

Of course the fact no-one you knew, or in fact would ever know, had read or would read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, aided this bullshit wonderfully.

One epic piece of drug induced nonsense from this book has lodged itself in my brain with annoying persistence; if a tree falls in a forest but if no-one hears it fall, has it really fallen’ Utter tosh.

I was reminded of this yesterday, when my housemate told me that some enterprising young do-gooders had taken it upon themselves to do cook ups specifically to deliver to hardworking hospital and other frontline staff. Not just because it eerily echoed my post of a week ago, when my housemates asked why I wasn’t joining in with the ‘Clap for Carers’ collective virtue signalling onanism:

I could’ve said it would be more meaningful of people had instead of shouting, had donated a packet of toilet paper…Or cooked a properly healthy and nourishing meal, put it some Tupperware and gifted it to a police station so they don’t have to eat the normal take-away shit they do when on shift.

But because further on I observed that;

Oh, not forgetting the feedback loop of social media, which helps create it, allows people to report on it while it’s happening and then post pictures and films of them doing it afterwards and to share with others who’ve done exactly the same.

This seems to be a 21st century affliction, whereby if you do something but if there’s no-one to comment on it or like your social media post about you doing it, complete with ‘photos and video’s of you doing, it has it actually happened? What’s the point, it now seems, of doing something and not letting as many people as possible know you’re doing it, before, during and after you’ve done it? Gone, it seems, is the mindset of someone thinking, ‘I’ll do this, and me knowing I’ve done it is enough, I’d rather keep it to myself’

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. My housemate then showed me ‘photo’s of ambulance staff eating the food. Quite why I thought of Janet Breen I don’t know.

Social media is in danger of making – in this instance certainly, but no doubt others – well intentioned and generous gestures, seem more about the people doing the doing of it, rather than about the thing or the beneficiaries of whatever that thing happens to be. Unless they pose for a ‘photo of them being suitably overjoyed at this largesse, a ‘photo that can be put on social media. Of course.

They were at it again last night, the ‘twatty clappers’, although one can understand why they didn’t clap and cheer for as long, after all it was a bit chilly. Maybe next week, the week after or the week after that, someone will go outside expecting to join in with countless others as usual and hearing nothing, will go back inside.

And tell their followers on social media exactly how it made them feel.