Generation Me

Given some recent observations, including one of my cohorts writing his thoughts on Twitter last week, I think it’s time to take a look at the center of everyone’s attention:

ME.

Not “me” in the literal sense of Chris Aballo as a person or soul (or blog), but more the way we let everyone know what we’re up to, whether they should know or not.

Humanity has an insatiable interest in what goes on with others, whether it’s out of genuine concern, desire to be included, or simply wanting to have dirt on someone else.  In the last ten years, voyeurism has become a major part of American life through the advent of “reality” TV.  I use the phrase “reality” TV very loosely because the phrase is an oxymoron.  You either have the boring hour-to-hour sitting at traffic lights or waiting in line at Fivebucks Starbucks or you have back-stabbing, drama-breeding, voyeuristic entertainment.  The two cannot coexist (kind of like a two-party political system).  This leaves us with self-important D-list divas and know-it-all alpha males posturing around showing us how great they have it in life.  It’s entertainment which takes us away from our lives and makes us focus on someone else for a little while.

I’m sure there are a few readers out there crying about how they tune in to enjoy the stupidity of others for their selfish entertainment.  While they’ve convinced themselves this is true, you can take your cues from nature and find stupidity all around you in the real world.  Hey, if you really want to immerse yourself in the stupidity of others, go to the mall on a Friday night or daytime on a Saturday, especially during this time of year.  Idiocy is abundant when you’re out in public, but you can observe it and get a laugh or two while grabbing some lunch and snagging a few presents for loved ones.  Sounds better than sitting on the couch pounding down “Diet” Coke and multiple 100 calorie packs while watching one of the endless stream of Kardashians shop, date a jock, or “design” clothes.

The other component of the “ME” equation is social networking.  I love social networking sites and find them to be extraordinarily useful when trying to keep in touch with vast quantities of people all at once.  MySpace is where I got my start at this, and Facebook expanded upon it by allowing tagging and a news feed in a format which changes several times a month.  If I have anything really interesting to say to people I personally know, my outlet of choice is Facebook.

However, some people use Facebook as a means of getting attention.  Okay, I do pollute the occasional news feed with plugs for this web site, but, for me, that is way more productive than one of those sad bastard statuses like “things never work out the way I hope” or “just can’t wait for today to be over.”  Call your mother if you want to cry. (indignant tone) Keep your petty temporary problems to yourself and out of my social network!  Clearly you want attention and maybe some will give it to you, but not me.  I hate this “poor me” attitude anyway, but throwing an open house for people to come by and tell you how “it’s not your fault” and how “the world beats everybody up from time to time” is just another means of grabbing attention.  This is the Generation Me complex at work.  Alas, this is the logical result of dealing with people online or in person, as far as having to put up with their nonsense.  Frankly, I don’t accept or send friend requests to anyone I’m not personally interested in.  Just because we were in the same graduating class doesn’t me I want to see an hourly mUpload (patent pending) of your toothless infant, and chances are you don’t want to read my bizarre thoughts either.  Unless we’re in touch in the real world, I see no point in harboring digital friendships.

The remainder of this blog will no longer be filled with excessive use of quotation marks.  We apologize for any ocular distress caused up to this point.

– The Quotemaster General

While there is a sense of personal community on sites like Facebook, some have gotten sick of…I’m not actually sure what they’re so sick of…and have turned exclusively to Twitter.  Twitter is the ultimate embodiment of the values of Generation Me.  Look at what I’m doing, what I’m seeing, what I thought of.  I avoided Twitter for the longest time and finally gave in when it came time to launch this website, when the four founders agreed we would open individual accounts and make use of it as a means of getting ourselves out there.  I enjoy throwing some musings up on Twitter and reading what others have to say but I find I’m less about my narrow purposes and more about sharing space with people I find interesting.  I’m not in it for the followers or to have a platform through which I can make my entertainment known.  I like seeing the random photos Tom Hanks posts and the article links Jillian Michaels throws on her feed.  Sharing a space with these people shrinks a big world into a small app on a mobile device and puts us all on the same plane, if only for a few minutes of my day.  Yes, I’m interested in what others have to say too.  Not about their newest fragrance release or their shallow political thoughts, but just their day to day.  Plus, it’s pretty funny to discover just how normal some people are.

A member of Generation Me is someone who has more regard for their own significance and less regard for the world around them.  There is a big world out there and we need to recognize it and be a part of it rather than just put our two cents into a digital feed whenever it comes to us.  It would be a nice if our emphasis was less on the “I” of ourselves and the names of our mobile devices and more about “we.”  That could be an amazing world.