The painful illusion of social networks
You don’t have to be a genius to realize the transcendental impact that the emergence of social networks has on the contemporary world. In little more than a decade of existence, these virtual spaces have gone from being a youthful eccentricity and a useful tool for contacting old friends, to being the quintessential place where transactions of all kinds take place: from purchases and sales of products , and publication of advertisements for goods and services , to falling in love and the dissemination of personal content. Everything is centralized in their digital pages, to the point that it is rare to ask someone for their phone number, because in reality we want their authorization to join their vast network of contacts.
In principle, there would be nothing to worry about. Social networks are not the first invention that revolutionizes the way we interrelate or that speeds up the clock of the obsolescence of many other technologies and practices. In fact, social networks have had a brilliant impact on the organization of social and community groups, since they allow the emergence of new ways of exchanging ideas, new ways of democratizing knowledge and new forms of protest and pressure, whose impacts in society they are just beginning to be appreciated recently.
This article is not, therefore, a call to fear social networks. But yes, which is different, it can be understood as a warning regarding what we do with them and the way we think about them, since under social networks there is usually a gigantic deception, a legacy from the times of reality shows and other media productions that aspired to entertain us not with fantastic stories and escapist perspectives, but by showing us —supposedly— reality.
social networks vs. reality
The reality shows of yesteryear were based on a very traditional perspective in the consumer society: the rich and famous live spectacular lives, and the mere fact of seeing them - especially if it is through a “hidden” camera in their homes - constitutes a form of entertainment. It’s not that different from what’s on offer in celebrity magazines or TV shows, which cover royal weddings and American show business events .
However, in these reality shows , some lucky people were given the opportunity to participate: beginning actors or “ordinary” people who, after their encounter with the television fairy godmother, went on to live a new life: they earned amounts of money, they starred in their own programs or simply became loved or hated by the general public. But at all times the industry that made such a transformation possible was clearly present: the producers and the regents of the contest, who mediated between televised reality and the public that consumed it.
And that is precisely what social networks hide from us. The change that has occurred with them is much more insidious and the illusion is much more perfect because the social network promises us direct interaction with the other, whether or not they are famous, whether or not they are a corporation that invests thousands of dollars in promoting their products. And so, we are sold a manufactured reality, again, but this time under the promise of an immediacy, a truth and an objectivity that are, let’s say it once and for all, a lie.
By this I am not only referring to advertisements blatantly disguised as a reportage ? evidence? —What are the entries in social networks?—, in short, disguised as reality. No influencer spends so much time talking about that brand of pants, if he does not receive a corresponding payment from the company . That, to a certain extent, is obvious. But there is an even more insidious spell and it has to do with the cut of reality that each person exhibits on their networks, and that the system passes off as true.
Machines to produce dissatisfaction
This is the reason why an increasing number of active users of social networks show symptoms of depression or dissatisfaction: social networks operate on the basis of desire and the desired object is a fictitious life, sold as real. And that doesn’t only happen with influencers who, after all, are actors, constructions with which to capture our interest: what we see of others, of our friends and of our acquaintances is nothing more than a convenient clipping of their lives because nobody he wants to show the morbid eye of the general public when things go wrong, when he gets frustrated or when reality disappoints him.
Perfect lives simply do not exist. And if any seem dangerously close to perfection, it may be because we have—consciously or unconsciously—put on the fairy tale filter. Perhaps, even worse, it was activated by a third party for us, behind our backs. A third party that profits from the exchange of our attention for dissatisfactions.
What is an opinion article?
An opinion article is a type of journalistic text in which the author exposes to the reader his personal position regarding a specific topic. These are essentially argumentative texts , which use information to promote a perspective, that is, to convince the reader to assume her point of view. For this reason, they are usually signed and of a personal nature (with the exception of press editorials, in which the institutional position of the newspaper is reflected), since the reader may agree or disagree with what they contain. it is stated.