The Dehumanizing Effects of Constant Performance

The Dehumanizing Effects of Constant Performance

What if social media is a terrible place to be because it’s weird to post about your life on the internet? Social media attracts the weirdest of society.

And man, I haven’t been able to get that out of my head.

The best article I read in all of 2022 was a newsletter written by Gurwinder called, “The Perils of Audience Capture: How influencers become brainwashed by their audiences.” I highlighted it in my year-end wrap-up just a few weeks ago.

Gurwinder is a former web developer and writer who researches and writes about how we are fooled by our relationship with the internet. I’ve been subscribed to him for a while now, and his stuff is always worth reading.

The last paragraph of “The Perils of Audience Capture” is the most profound. It reads:

This is the ultimate trapdoor in the hall of fame; to become a prisoner of one’s own persona. The desire for recognition in an increasingly atomized world lures us to be who strangers wish us to be. And with personal development so arduous and lonely, there is ease and comfort in crowdsourcing your identity. But amid such temptations, it’s worth remembering that when you become who your audience expects at the expense of who you are, the affection you receive is not intended for you but for the character you’re playing, a character you’ll eventually tire of. So the next time you find yourself in the limelight of other people’s gazes, remember that being someone often means being fake, and if you chase the approval of others, you may, in the end, lose the approval of yourself.

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