How Transparent Can We Get?

Jan 29, 2017 by

How Transparent Can We Get?

We’re living in an age of complete transparency, at least that’s what the social media elite would have us believe. We apparently share the deepest parts of ourselves when we ‘Like’ something or Tweet about an episode of ‘Dancing With the Stars’, and we should take every person and business online at face value because, after all, they’re being transparent.

But can social media change social behavior?

The White House has a blog. Are we to assume that the American Government is being transparent through this particular social media channel? Is this authenticity or digital damage control?

Many celebrities Tweet. Are they sharing their innermost selves with us, the general public, or is Tweeting just another way to stay in the public eye, like Paul Lynde used to do via The Hollywood Squares?

And what about us regular folk? Does social media really allow us to be transparent with each other? Although it’s sometimes true we’re more real online than off, we get to that ‘realness’ by way of hiding; hiding behind phony names, avatars and back stories.  It’s liberating to wave our freak flags and proclaim to the world our real opinions and desires and fears. But how real are we being if we have to hide in order to do it?

I submit that the three most stable substances on Earth are gold, iron, and human nature. Our behavior hasn’t really changed in hundreds of years and it won’t anytime soon.

All the foibles and fears, idiosyncrasies, habits, hopes, dreams, doubts, self-loathing, hatred, secrets, blemishes, jealousy, disgust, love, prejudice, loyalty, cunning, depression, joy, greatness and weakness we humans carry around with us on land, we bring with us into the digital world of zeros and ones.

Social media in its current form and the forms it will eventually take, make it easier for humans to be accessible to one another. It gets us right up to the line, but then it’s up to us whether we will cross it or not. Technology and media are awesome, but they aren’t smart enough to change the basic landscape of human behavior.

As of now, human transparency is a nice idea, like self-frying bacon or no more humidity. In order for all of us to truly live transparently though, we would need to figure out a way to completely obliterate the human ego.

Maybe someone could create an app for that.

What do you think? Does social media really change the way we relate to each other as human beings? Or does it simply give us a faux sense of connection? And, be honest, the idea of self-frying bacon made you happily twitch.


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