It’s just about the numbers

After you update your status or post pictures on Facebook, how likely are you to go back to see how many “likes” you got? Why do we attend parties? To get in touch with our old mates? To meet new people? To take selfies?

Today’s popular technological innovation, “selfie”, is different from ordinary pictures. Selfies appear to emphasize the intimacy of our relations with others. Selfies allow a group of people to fit in a small phone screen even when the picture is taken from a relatively close distance. It appears to promise us to bring us close, literally and figuratively, to our loved ones. But in reality, it moves us farther away from them.

For example, last week, I met my high school friends after a year, and within the first five minutes of our meeting, the need to take selfies was acknowledged. We went to a restaurant but before eating the delicious food, we took selfies with the food.

What’s next? The next step is to post them on social media such as Facebook, and we measure our progress by checking how many “likes” we get. The number of “likes” tends to inform us of our myth of progress, efficiency, and perfection (something my English professor would say!).

It appears that people dress up and tend to meet others just so that they can take an “Oscar selfie”. The technology tends to enslave us in the digital world, and this causes us to lose contact with the real world as we are “turning and turning into widening gyre” (Yeats, W.B.) and forget who we really are (something I learned in my English class at university).


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