My wife is somewhat obsessed with the old tune Come On Eileen. Part of me is like “Come on Wifeen, really – this song?” Shortly there after the violin hits and I’m losing my mind jumping around the room with her.
For the purposes of today’s writing I am going to collectively give western society the name of Eileen.
I was out on a job recently where I spent over 12 hours with people I had never before worked with, seen, or ever heard of. Because of the type of work, we were forced to be together in a number of different circumstances. Eileen was showing herself in some varied colors. One trend I noticed I find a little troubling.
I’m a fairly social dude, and with my psychology background – I am interested in people. I am interested in what makes people tick, how they find happiness, and how they endure challenges. I don’t walk up to people and say “Hi, my name’s Wes, I like Cheetos and Art. What makes you happy?” I do however try and be polite, and talk to people. Nothing weird here, just your everyday courteous conversations.
Here is what I noticed as I tried to engage in conversations this day: People are very happy to talk about themselves. No one seemed bothered by picking up a conversation with me at all, in fact – many people talked my ear off. Which was great. It made the day go by fast, and I got to learn.
However, in all of discussions I had with many different people that day, not one person asked me anything about myself. Not one person in over 12 hours! Now, I don’t offend easy – I don’t really care that no one asked me. It is however a troubling trend.
I fear that our Facebook/social media culture is getting us in the habit of demonstrating as follows:
Look at what I eat
Look at what I don’t eat
Look, I’m on the beach
Look I have freaking cute kids
Check out all the weight I’ve lost
I am so fat
LOL I just saw Daniel Radcliffe at Starbucks
I am unfriending all the haters in my feed
I am so tired right now. I totally forgot to post something about myself because I am so tired, so I’m going to tell you that I’m tired. Ha I’m funny when I’m tired.
Could social media be effecting our already self-centered society for the worse? I sure as crap think so. The name says it all – FACEbook. Other variants: VAINbook, MEbook, Ibook (Don’t get me started on Apple products 😉 ). Really, shouldn’t it be SOULbook? Soulbook would focus on others. Isn’t it funny how the best way to improve the health of your soul is to take the path of selflessness? It’s hard to be selfless when combined with a cell phone addiction and relentless posts about yourself.
Maybe my day with strangers (all folks perfectly happy to talk my ear off about themselves without a care in the world about the stories of those around them) is not indicative of Eileen in her entirety. But, my gut guess is we are far more self-centered than we used to be. Technology and social media can help spread goodness – but it can also easily and naturally take you down a life of “I”. So not much else to say other than Come On Eileen!! We can do better.