I have a problem with kids my age. It looks something like this.
Don’t want to click? Fine, here is a sample.
Every day my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed is filled with pictures like this. If you are young 20 something, have asian friends, and on any sort of social network, you’ve seen this.
Now, I’m not trying to sound pretentious, because I definitely understand how common this is. Everyone takes pictures of their food. There are even entire apps dedicated to this.
But when I get 20 pictures in my feed of typically asian girls showing off the ‘gourmet’ food, and the incessant circle-jerking comments of ‘OMG that looks soooo good’, I wonder.
How the hell did taking pictures of the food you are eating become a status symbol?
Think about it. Normal kids in the 90’s used to show off their brand new sneakers, or wear the latest fashion statements (90’s Starter jackets, 00’s fitted hats). Normal geeks at that time showed off their pokemon card collection, or music CD collections. Whatever, they were all still things you did and flashed off in person. Face to face. Nothing like some bling or cheesy rims on car to say “I’m doing shit”.
But today it’s so vastly different because everyone is so connected. Now it’s like: Oh, that food truck party I’m at? Tweet it. Eating some super fancy and expensive sushi? Instagram. At some exclusive roof party in Vegas? Better check in on Foursqaure.
This is what kids are expressing today.
“This is me, this is how I have fun, and look at how cool I am.”
I’m not going to try to argue about why people choose to share what they share, because that’s a bit of human nature that goes back to Rebel Without a Cause. That will never change.
However, I thought through tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, we were supposed to be sharing meaningful content. Stuff that mattered. Instead, they are becoming individualized posting boards for anti-social interactions.
And literally, for many people I know my age, eating good food and then sharing that picture is the pinnacle. Wake up, go to work, eat fancy food, share, and sleep. Throw in a few clubbing pictures. Rinse and repeat, and that’s the message of what’s most important in life that I’m getting on broadcast. Not once in a while or even once a week, but 24/7.
This isn’t a hipster complaint of “I don’t care what you ate”, because I actually enjoy seeing some of the stuff from friends. I like eating good food. But eating food is not my default format to expressing myself. So if it isn’t the right format, then maybe the framework is all wrong. Maybe after so many years on social networks, the apps themselves aren’t actually reflecting what I would want to reflect anymore.
I guess it just boils down to the fact that of all the stuff people would choose to share with the world, of all the ways you could possibly use one’s voice, of all the possible interactions between people, you end up with this.