Opinion: Seeking ‘likes’

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It can be said with abundant certainty that social media has changed the way in which we interact with each other. Countless studies, articles and even full-on books have been dedicated to assessing the cultural phenomena unleashed by our newly cultivated ability to share, perhaps over-share, the various details and vagrancies of our daily existence.

We tell and retail events big and small. The news of a new baby in our family or the loss of a tire in the ubiquitous central Indiana potholes is spread with equal and banal distribution. Our thoughts, and the retribution they might invite, all are reduced to identical bits and bytes to be streamed unrestrainedly to those who have followed our lead. We post our vacation pictures, bringing with them both shared joy and a modicum of envy. We post half-baked postures and opinions alongside our well-considered and executed musings. We post more links in the prayer chain seeking to lift up someone who is struggling. Along the way, we’ve begun to understand how best to present ourselves, hopefully our better selves, to the world. 

In so doing, we’ve become curators in our own lives. The more tech savvy among us have figured out, by research or by accident, what kinds of posts are among the more appealing. Called by some clickbait, the notion of creating our own headline has become an obsession for us. We find ourselves validated or rebuked by the number of casual “likes” that might correspond to our reveries.

Eventually, society will find its watermark. Our habits will bend to the collective will of the social media marketplace. Then, it will all seem second nature. In the meantime, we endure the random passerby blocking traffic in search of the perfect “selfie” to post: “Is this my good side?” 

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