It feels great to be a part of something, join friends in a activity, share likes and dislikes, creating a joint effort. This same ideology follows in social media which is why it is called SOCIAL media: interact with like minded people, share your thoughts on the world, introduce your compatriots to something new to you. BUT, what if you deconstruct that basic foundation of social media and make it all about yourself, making it so you can hear only your voice. That mentality turns you into a narcissist the type of people on social media we love to hate or hate to love. I tried to become just that this past week.
The goal for me was not to simply post consistently about myself or share numerous pictures of myself on social media. That awkward behavior would be obvious to my audience, too easy, they would expect that something is going on (or maybe that I was going through some weird phase. My plan was intricate and a little subconscious: every time I saw a friend post about anything on social media whether it be about news about themselves or something interesting they wanted to share I would make a comment and after they replied to me I would make sure that we continued the conversation in the reply section for a long time. This would lead to a long discussion between me and that person, on a post that they probably intended to let everyone be a part of. I assumed that if I had a long conversation with that person and only that person, it would lead to other friends (mutual and non-mutual) no longer feeling included, because I was hogging up the attention; I was including myself and excluding everyone else.
Performing the experiment was a little tricky and I did it not only on Facebook but any social media platform where I could direct their attention to me only. I think my best test was when I was discussing with a friend on facebook his thoughts on a new game that he had his hands on. I would ask him questions that I could look up. Through out the conversation he answered all my questions, but here was the interesting part: he never fully told me to stop or we can have this talk over DM (direct message). I feel the reason this happened was because he didn’t want to look rude or insult me, but the consequence to that was that I kept on going until he submitted and did not respond after a while. Throughout that conversation I did not see anyone else make a response or reply to the comment. I was successful in excluding everyone and including myself. this was a common trend on Facebook when I did the experiment nobody told me to stop they just left, hopefully they weren’t to upset.
The thing that inspired me to do this breaking of a social norm was when I was in a group chat with 7 other people I was arguing with another person about who was better in a fighting game called Tekken. Through out the time I had no consideration for other people on the chat, I wanted to come out on top of the argument. It wouldn’t stop one of the other memebers of the group chat was visibly upset about the argument and told us to take the conversation elsewhere. Thinking about it now I feel as if inciting an argument on social media would have been another great norm to break. The purpose of social media is to be social to bring everyone within your circle together in a network… a social network.