Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jumping on the Bandwagon: Living your life as a #trendingtopic

"nobody built like you, you designed yourself…"
I used to think that as humans we possessed so many skills that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately after many months of observation I have reached a sad and insulting realization. We appear to be nothing more than a pack of animals traveling together blindly following whoever happens to be infront of the pack. Again I re-state "blindly following" even if that path leads off of a cliff: "if everyone else is doing it then it must be okay"
How far gone and behind we are as a culture, a society, a race. Now don't get me wrong there is absolutely and most definetly always a time and place when it is necessary to follow. Everyone can not be a leader at all times and a true leader knows when the appropriate switch from follower to leader should take place. Unfortunately many have lost the connection and their switch constantly remains in the off position. We've become a culture that has become accustomed to being apart of the crowd rather then to separate ourselves and create our own path for someone else to follow. Often we hear many saying how unique they are or hope to be but I have stopped giving society the benefit of the doubt and fear that there is no one person that is truly unique. I see it more and more every day as I read my Facebook newsfeed, walk through the halls of school, and listen to the topics of conversation that arise amongst peers, co-workers, and friends.
Lately I have heard by many that I am old fashioned and against technology. Well that couldn't be furthest from the truth. I am one of the most radical thinkers I know and consume all forms of technology through a filter. My personal stance has nothing to do with conservative thinking just thinking. For one moment could we as a society stop and think why we make certain decisions and take certain actions. Critically think and analyze just for one second why did you post that particular status, why did you follow that person, why did you type that specific tweet, why did you change your picture to a cartoon. Is it because you truly believe that in that instant your sailor moon photo will prevent a child from being beaten, or you posting a status about how you truly feel about someone will bring your friendship that much closer. Instead of personally telling someone how important they are to us is it more beneficial to anonymously equate them with a number and tell the world? Will complaining about your love life magically fix the problem because people that care about you so much are commenting on your status and giving feedback? Is boredom an acceptable reason or a tool used by the incompetent?
There is no judgement just personal curiosity and a call for questioning. I do understand that cultural norms are hard to break free from but can't quite understand how the need for a new wardrobe or iPad can be followed by a complaint of being broke or in debt. I do understand that when everyone is doing something that seems so appealing whether it be a drug or a social networking activity it's hard to live above that enticing influence. I do understand that so many of the #trendingtopics are harmless and don't or shouldn't bother or be anyone's concern. I offer my understanding to all of these things as well as the same advice I offer my students: Be a #trendingtopic every once in a while instead of always following them. Set a trend, make others follow you. Change the pace and find something positive and progressive to do with your boredom.

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