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A Social Wasteland Is Coming

I logged on to Facebook to find two disgusting items. First, Jenn's status: “I smile at a homeless man on my walk to work this morning and he says, 'Pretty smile.' I love being able to brighten a strangers day.” I do not care for this narcissism and vanity masked as grace.

She's not the only one either. Second, I only have to scroll down a couple clicks before finding an old friend of mine, Jason, summarizing his “killer” workout at the gym earlier today. Jeez, he's not even trying to be humble.

The more time I spend on social networks like Facebook, the more I am disgusted by the Internet Generation. It's worth noting that I am technically a part of this generation due to my age, but for the sake of my self-loathing, I will secede from the IGeneration and declare myself part of my own sovereign generation – Generation Ludd! (Or perhaps Generation Dud. I am, after all, still on Facebook).

Let's face it: social media sites are overflowing with pseudo humility and faux friendship – it serves as a speakerbox for the braggers, and is there an uglier habit? I don't need to hear about your Wednesday evening dinner plans, people, or about how unlucky you are to be on a delayed flight to the French Open.

I need someone to explain to me just what is going on before I throw my damned computer out the window. Why are we as a society okay with this vapid internet behavior?

I was able to get a hold of Dr. M. Ellen Mitchell PhD., the dean of the College of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology who focuses on, among other things, personality and internet use.

We've all heard about people who are addicted to social media, and I'm still not sure which addiction is more absurd this one, or sex addiction. Anyway, I have a theory that all of these online egotists are addicted to Facebook and the more time they spend on it, the worse they get.

And by worse, I mean more of the all too common self-effacing brag about one's social life. Dr. Mitchell explained to me that our personalities are not as much changed by the internet as much as the activities we choose to partake in are influenced by our personalities. The internet is just another medium for displaying one's personality. Wait, so all of these people are really just this self-absorbed?

“There were a lot of studies where social support was correlated with all kinds of positive outcomes, health, mental health, with academic performance, it predicts all kinds of different things,” Dr. Mitchel continues. To me that sounds like all of these people are going on Facebook seeking this social support and narcissism is the e-currency, it's a quid pro quo you could say. This was my theory, at least, and Mitchell was unwilling to corroborate it.

I had one more question for Dr. Mitchell before I hung up: does this online self-absorption equal happiness? Mitchell answered: “If you could assess the level of perceived support, then that had greater predictive utility than the actual number of people in your network.” Ah, the perception is more important than the reality!

This is the secret. These attention-seeking miscreants are getting what they are looking for on Facebook in the form of social support, and this reward only encourages further social offenses. That's how I see it, at least. Now all we need is finger-seeking rats to nibble their fingertips off in an attempt to ruin their typing instruments.

Part of me is jealous of these Facebookers. It would be nice to have the support of a thousand friends. But I just can't get past the fact that these online communities are social mirages. Sure Facebook has its advantages; I actually keep in touch with my cousins who live hundreds of miles away, but ultimately we're kidding ourselves. None of us have 1,000 friends,

and all of us (perhaps just me) are irritated by the social network etiquette – and it's an ugly etiquette. So on that note, I shall sign off my Facebook and never return, well until the next time it proves convenient.

Kevin Armstrong | Elite.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr

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