A Subtle 'Fuck You' to Social Media

Cole Schafer

Half the time as a writer I am not even writing, I am competing for attention, I am spending my time thinking up new ways to market my message to the people that truly need to hear it.

It fucking sucks to be a writer in 2017.

Not only do I compete for attention with other writers, but I compete for attention with the cat memes. I compete with the ridiculous World Star Hip Hop street fight videos. I compete with the bullshit political rants.

I will never be able to effectively verbalize how frustrating it is. I have this message, this real authentic message I am working every Goddamn day of my life to get other young people to listen to.

But they would rather read breaking news about how Kim Kardashian is considering divorcing Kanye West, than how they could legitimately improve their actual relationships they are in, by pulling their heads out of their asses and taking the time to hug their partner rather than their phone.

A couple weeks back, I was done, I had reached a point where I was officially ready to be done blogging. I was staring at the ‘Deactivate’ button at the bottom of my blog site, fantasizing over how wonderful it would feel to just walk away.

But then, Bo Burnham’s words came rattling through my skull. I had watched his Netflix Original, Make Happy, a few nights prior. During his live performance, he had a brief moment of seriousness where he passed on a message that really resonated with me.

“Social Media was just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform. So, the market said ‘here’, perform everything, to everyone, all the time, for no reason. It’s prison. It’s horrific. It’s performer and audience melted together. We lie in our bed at the end of the day as a satisfied audience member. I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.”

His words were everything to me, addressing exactly the struggle I was dealing with -- measuring my value and self-worth as a human being in the number of shares, likes and visits my work was receiving.

I had stopped writing because I loved it, and started writing in hopes that other people would love it.

And I see this all the time.

We don’t measure the value of a relationship by how much we love the other person, but we measure it in how our friends and followers love the pictures we post.

Our thoughts aren’t measured by their depth nor originality, but instead, they are measured in favorites and retweets. Take a moment and fucking think about that. Seriously, think about how messed up that is. Twitter has created a system where even your thoughts, one of the deepest parts of you, are measured and graded.

So guess what happens? We stop living for ourselves, we stop living in the pursuit of our very own honest to goodness happiness. And instead, we start performing, for anyone and everyone that will fucking listen.

And you know what’s wrong with performing? It’s not real. It’s not genuine. It’s not authentic. It exists solely for the purpose of applause, to sell tickets.

I suppose I am fighting against something here.

I am fighting against the world where greasy internet entrepreneurs, like Tai Lopez take advantage of people through ‘get rich quick’ e-courses.

I am fighting against the world where a woman can gain millions of followers on Instagram by posting consecutive pictures of her ass.

I am fighting against the world where cat memes are consumed in greater frequency than books.

I am fighting against the world where young women look up to Kim K. rather than Michelle Obama.

I am fighting against the world where young men believe their only path to success is through basketball, rapping or becoming Insta-famous.

I suppose I am fighting for everything we have lost in the midst of all the followers we have gained.

So, for all the people that read my work, I have a message I want to leave you with:

Your most heavily favorited tweet will not be etched onto your gravestone. Your 10,000 followers will not be included in your obituary. Your relationship will not grow stronger the better your Instagram filter. You will not find happiness through social media.

So, be genuine, be true to yourself, be authentic and be exactly the person you believe in your heart you should be. Don’t play into the system, don’t chase after the applause that social media has programmed us to long for.

Stop performing and start living.

By Cole Schafer