Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mass Culture vs. Individual Identity

Me: "Hey Kaz! how was school?" 
Kaz: "It was LIT." 
Me: "Huh?" 
Kaz: "Like class was sick ... nah mean? YEEEET."
Me "..." 
Kaz: "yeet... yeet?" 
Kaz: "I am?! #getonthislevel" 
Me: "

Alright. The above, and quite aggravating, dialog is a conversation my 16 year old sister and I would have on a regular day. She is a very bright girl, but loves the short social media talk to communicate with her friends. I have had more serious and elaborate conversations with my sister about her days in the past, and my ears were caught off guard when she was so quick to use "social media language". This is a classic example of how social media has slowly taken over the way we talk, think and act. 

It's sad to think that whatever is considered "hot" or "cool" through social media nowadays  classifies who we are. This isn't really a new concept of course since it was well established before our digital century! For example, Italy was a country well known from the beginning for setting fashion trends and also identifying social and working classes through fashion.   

Another interesting fact about fashion and other ideologies that were growing at the time, is that a lot of what people saw was based off of good ol' fashion literature. To me, this reinforced that people during this time were more individually identified because of the variety among literature! Fashion was more of a background detail ;) 
Moving from ancient into more modern centuries, the creation of cartography and faster modes of transportation spread ideologies across oceans. The characteristics of so many countries could be seeded into lands all over the world, growing into a world of globalized culture. 

^^^ Enter the age of digitization and technology ^^^
Where ideas are spread like wildfire, from fashion, knowledge, music and most importantly ... communicating. 

 NOW. dun dun dunnnnn. We are a world that revolves around likes, followers, views and emojis!! Historian Daniel Boorstin saw this coming from a mile away. He explained that folk tradition was a way of life that led people to act for themselves, where as now, the mass culture depends on others to feed them information. 

The curly fry conundrum is how Mrs. Jennifer Golbeck would describe the issue that I'm getting at from a unique perspective. From her Ted talk she says that what we like, follow, purchase online and view is ruling what we see on all social media platforms, because businesses have the power to fill our news feeds with the things that we "like". A clever tactic for branding themselves. 

My sister is just one small example of many youth that are being affected by how much social media consumes their personal lives. There seems to be a sort of pressure towards not just youth, but all people to continually post about their lives so they will never be forgotten by their so called "friends". Do we realize that this pressure is irrelevant to how we grow as human beings? Or do we enjoy being a "massified" culture? 

My Homies had a lot to say about this issue of losing their personal identity through social media as well. Basically, there is a different social pressure that comes with each phase of life we enter! If you're a high schooler: selfies on selfies on selfies. If you're a college student at BYU: inspiring quotes, hiking pictures and engagement photos. 

Not only do we spend so much time looking at other people's "lives" through social media, what actions we take on social media is subliminally dictating our lives! From the way my sister talks, to the way I decide to dress everyday ... how much of it is really "individual and personal"? 


  1. Interesting topic. I think your colloquial writing style does a great job reflecting your very topic. Even in a semi-formal setting such as this, your post is saturated in slang. Even as you use the example of your sister, you complete your conversation using an emoji, showing the same problem you discuss.

  2. I really like the tone of this post. Like Eli mentioned, it does a good job of reflecting the topic. However, I can't really see the connection between indulging in social media and the loss of personal identity. Maybe you can summarize each subsection and help the reader understand how each example proves your point? Or maybe I'm just completely misreading your post.

    1. Thank you Adrian! I thought for some reason I had to use all of my flashcards, when I didn't ... and I think I got too tied up in random points rather than making it more direct to my topic. This next time around I will definitely make sure that happens.