by Luke Lyman
Everybody loves Twitter, but Twitter makes us love ourselves too much.
Though it doesn’t have as many accounts as Facebook and is not considered near as popular according to Social Media Today, its existence is ruining today’s high schoolers.
Twitter has become the centralized source for the funniest and most varied forms of entertainment, and in less than 140 characters at a time, is making those who use it more and more narcissistic with every favorite and retweet.
The Blue Birdy seems harmless enough, but the openness of the website leads to an overgrown sense of self-importance and egoism. Expressing complex ideas about broad and often controversial subjects takes more than two sentences laced with typos and emoji, yet with most everyone in the world being able to be directed to your tweets if they so desire and anyone being able to voice agreement with the click of a button, an average high schooler can become a self-proclaimed expert in whatever subject they feel passionate about that day.
The amplification of over-simplified ideas has created an increasingly narcissistic society teeming with teens whose magnified agreeances lead to a lack of open-minds and stubborn youth.
There is nothing wrong with being confident in one’s’ opinions, however the issue occurs when these same kids can simply choose to ignore competing ideas, or be mistakenly reaffirmed by isolated yet ubiquitous strangers.
Twitter’s heightened society of conceitedness is spurred on by the idea of followers. When one gains a follower, it suggests that this person agrees with or enjoys your opinion, and if one is a follower, than you must be their leader. Therefore, instead of being acquaintances or interested friends, followers become a mass you are preaching your ideas to, and their agreeance is assumed with or without a favorite. This leads to a competition in who has the most followers, because the more followers, the more true or smart a person views themselves. Thus they believe they are leading a mob of dynamic and inspired companions.
Once again, there is nothing wrong or negative with confidence.
But this idea of followers and leaders leads to a self obsession that leads to an exponential increase in other narcissistic behaviors such as selfies, a belief that your life is more significant than those with less followers, and worst of all, constant debates with other Twitterites where everyone assumes themselves to be the winner.
Even I am guilty of this on numerous occasions. The narcissism is not necessarily each individual’s faults, but something that comes with the territory. It happens naturally, you tweet about your confidence in your local sports team, when suddenly someone from Nigeria who was tracing the hashtag you used in your tweet chimes in with an opinion so blatantly incorrect that even though you know you shouldn’t say anything back, you just have to. After your carefully worded response that you believe will end the argument though, they have the nerve to respond again! Eventually, after your responses, your counterpart’s friends jump in, and a jumbled mess of responses and “witty” comebacks, you’ve wasted an entire angry afternoon fighting with people who live on the other side of the globe over dangerously unimportant issues.
All this is made even worse by the ability to literally mute or block other people’s ideas. This ignorance by choice is creating a generation of close-minded and stubborn denizens. It’s ironic that a generation of citizens who pride themselves on their open-mindedness and acceptance are able to so easily and carelessly “block” those who disagree with them.
The consequences from this apathy and negatively self-absorbed behavior are yet to be fully realized. Every generation has its issues, but the advent of technology and social media is introducing ones never seen before. As this generation begins to enter the workforce and political arena, there potential behavior is completely unpredictable. Perhaps they begin to embrace movements thought taboo for decades as they rebel politically. Evidence of this is already being seen as candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, political “outsiders” begin to rise in the current election. Perhaps their nation will be a more apathetic version of the fringe “open” movements of the 70’s and 80’s.
Or perhaps they’ll figure it out and actually learn how to act.