Internet, the best friend of billions of solitudes (2/3)
Here is the second part of my article on the parallel between the book The era of emptiness – Essay on contemporary individualism by Gilles Lipovetsky and the way we use the Internet.
To the personal emptiness is added an irresistible need to shine with his peers; which is grouped under the theme need for fame and recognition.
For this, the collaboration on which web 2.0 is based is essential.
Tools like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is one example. Everyone can contribute through an article on a subject, a character, an event – it doesn't matter which one, we contribute to the enrichment of the reader. In the case of Wikipedia, there is a real taste for contribution: putting one's knowledge to the benefit of others. The fact that each article is anonymous reflects a real free.
This is not the case, for example, with blogs or any other source of content, where everyone is a source of information; more or less reliable information, but information nonetheless. Everyone has an opinion on everything and anything and shares it. These modern journalists who are bloggers seek as much recognition as those of the old formula, they want to disseminate information and often be the center of attention. But their audience and recognition potential is so much greater! Some may even seem overwhelmed by events and dazzled by the glare of their readers' acerbic comments. But they have a public, present, reactive, even devoted for some. The new court jester has arrived and he's a blogger.
Another example is that of social networks and especially FaceBook or Twitter. Yes, we participate in Wikipedia, but nobody – or almost – knows it. On the other hand, we change our status on FaceBook or Twitter (see the article of Jean-Sébastien on this subject) and all our "friends" know it. They know what we do with our little life: there again, we have an audience! Our need for fame and recognition is satisfied. Not only do we share our fascinating daily life with our “audience of friends”, but we can also ensure their support, their reaction, their presence, etc. Loneliness mixed with the need for recognition makes people act and react. In the case of Twitter, the “friends” of FaceBook are transformed into “followers” and “following”. There are those who follow and those who are followed. Following here takes on the meaning of “following the activities of…”. Except that those who follow can also simply be members of the same herd, that of the Twitter member, who mindlessly follows those that other members of the herd do. What stupidity!
Exhibitionism and egocentrism are today the success of social networks: the more the Internet user has "friends" and the more he feels valued: 400 friends and yet still as alone... Just like these young Japanese women who buy friends so that their cell phone rings more often and their loved ones – friends, families – think they are popular and therefore worthy of being loved, appreciated, frequented. Or MySpace.com which, through fakeyourspace.com allowed a time to enrich its list of friends by buying some.
Finally, Lipovetsky was already right: “even if Narcissus would like to love people other than himself, he is too well 'programmed' on himself to be able to do so. »
Continuation and end of this article next week.
PS: If you also need "friends", follow me ! 😉