Social Media and Happiness

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Perfecting your Craft

Christoph Waltz, one of the great actors of the moment; a favourite of Quentin Tarantino and has just been cast as the new Bond Villain.
He was recently featured in the British GQ magazine and comes across unassuming, typically old-school and passionate about his craft. What becomes apparent early on in the interview is how uncomfortable he is talking about his personal life, his children and parents. He shuns these questions in such a way that would lead you to believe that he dislikes fame. And you would be right. He says: “if you become famous because of your long career, that’s one thing. As motivation in itself, celebrity is foolhardy and stupid.” he [Waltz] complains, ‘I hate it’ but the craft of acting is what drives him.

Holiday Hedonism

As I turn over the next page of the magazine I am met with a different type of article – ‘Yacht week: Holiday hedonism for the super-rich’. Essentially the participants get a yacht, spend loads of money and carnage and debautory ensues.

Now I don’t have an issue with this sort of enjoyment. If you like buying jeroboams of Dom Perignon, partying into the small hours of the morning, waking up and repeating for a week or two then I hope you have fun.

However the nature of the article was not concerned so much with that side of the ‘holiday’ but rather what these these party goers gain their enjoyment from.

Social media and professional photographers play a major part in the holiday.  Allowing the holiday goers to establish an image for themselves; ‘shooting aspiration in a bottle’ they call it.
On face value we could argue that this is a reflection of how important the internet has become in our lives. It is normal in today’s society to share one’s experiences online. What I draw qualm with however is the focus of the enjoyment is based around sharing on social media The experience is no longer enough.  If it’s not the gentleman buying a huge bottle of vodka,  not to drink mind you,  but to hold above his head any time he sees an I phone.
“I cant wait to see the comments!” he bellows after, one must assume, a particularly triumphant lift. To the private parties in which half the party goes shun the world renowned dj,  facing facing away from the dance floor in order to take a selfie. Literally with their backs turned to the experience in order to document just how much ‘fun’  they are having.

Validation in Society:

This is not an isolated phenomenon resigned to ‘Yacht Week’ but we can see it mirrored through-out our lives and society.  The epitome of which is the invent, and therefore the perceived need of a selfie stick or the sheer vanity and self grandeur of carrying around a three foot long stick to an event in order to take a selfie and show your friends just how much fun you are having is mind boggling to me, and yet, so normal in today’s society, whilst I hasten to add, missing the show or event in the process.

Old Vs. New

Going back to Christopher Waltz, there seems to be a clear divide in terms of the way the older generation seek validation rather than the younger generation. The older generation seek validation through the profession, skill and experience of life, whilst the new generation try and gain a snippet of fame and validation by sharing their experiences with others on any social network. In a previous blog post  I asked the question if people seek more enjoyment from eating an exquisite meal in a famous restaurant or taking a picture of the meal, sharing it online and seeing how many comments or likes they get.

How we are Changing

The psychologist Andrea Letamendi says that the result of social media has created the ‘Looking-glass effect’. A psychological concept that suggests we develop our sense of self based on the perceptions of those we interact with now, that we can interact with hundreds or even thousands of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.”

Social media Youtube stars coupled with the media explosion of people becoming famous for being famous. The Kim Kardashian and Katie Prices and a whole host of Reality TV stars has led to many seeking heightened validation from many unknowns rather than their peers and friends on a smaller scale.
Thinking one last time of Christopher Waltz, for the amount of work, and the years he acted for,  it seems it was only a matter of time before he got the credit he deserved for perfecting his craft  and yet he rejects what so many of the younger generation seek. Fame for the sake of being Famous.
References
Chalmers, R. (2015). Mr Waltz. British GQ, pp.162-171.

Instagram and Gamorrah. (2015). British GQ, pp.172-179.

Karahassan, P. (2014). Selfie: The mark of a Digital Generation – Therapy in London. [online] Therapy in London. Available at: http://www.therapyin.london/selfie-the-mark-of-a-digital-generation/ [Accessed 1 May 2015].

Sifferlin, A. and Sifferlin, A. (2015). Why Selfies Matter | TIME.com. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/06/why-selfies-matter/ [Accessed 1 May 2015].

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