We live in a time where we are expected to share everything. An avalanche of details of people’s private lives is poured over our heads every day through calls, texts, tweets, timelines and whatever other forms of social media there are. Discretion used to be the better part of valour, but we abandoned the first and the second has become hard to find.
You stubbed your toe? Tweet it before you stop dancing around the room. You are having a fight with your beloved? Invite your friends to a hangout so they can vote in real-time on who is winning the argument. Your neighbour is singing too loud in the shower? Bitch about it on Facebook instead of knocking on the door and politely ask them to stop.
In a way it is easy; we no longer have to meet up in person to share news or check up on each other. We can just click on Like, or post a combination of capitals to express our concern, support or commiseration and be done with it. Saves a lot of time which we then can put to good use, like watching reality TV shows.
Back in the day I was one of the first of my friends to get an answering machine and they ridiculed me for weeks. They felt it smacked of a pretentiousness that deserved hilarity, because how important did I think I was? Over and over I had to explain that I worked nightshifts and had the unfortunate habit of answering the phone while asleep and talking utter nonsense to whoever was on the other side of the line. And that I was sick of having to return encyclopedia’s, insurances, TV guides and exercise equipment I had ordered while being sound asleep. Those days are long gone, today my phone is a lot smarter than I am.
Continuous connectability is the norm, caution is flung to the wind, reticence is retro and you are what you say you are. We post quotes from original thinkers to imply we are smart, videos of comedians to prove we are funny and endless photos that prove we are popular. According to my Facebook I have hundreds of friends and yes I do follow people on Twitter, but all of it still makes me feel a bit like a stalker.
I seldom post my thoughts and never tweet. I work with words and am only too aware of the danger of sending them out into the world with a certain intention with no guarantee on how they will arrive. Divorcing words from body language is tricky; they can take on a life of their own before you know it.
But I have converted and all my disdain of these new ways of communication disappeared by what I saw last week. A new advertising campaign upped the ante in the game of stating who you are by the product you choose and it is brilliant.
The concept of course is not new, there were the chocolate bars with names derived from social media that hoped to cash in on teenagers trying to show off how cool they were. An early and not very successful attempt. But remember the trend of clothing shouting the names of designers, just so everyone knew we were wearing overpriced stuff? That was very popular, all you had to do when going on a date was count the labels and you knew your prospective partner’s eligibility.
However this new car ad takes the cake. Large billboards proudly proclaim the arrival of the latest shiny guzzler of miles: the Envy. In one stroke it is unnecessary for everyone to obsessively update their statuses or send tweets when on the road, their car will shout out to the world what they stand for.
Gone are the days we have to try and be witty, with the risk of being misunderstood, we are now in the era of brutal honesty. No more need to disambiguate someone’s personality from what they share in 140 characters, the truth is obvious and this new trend will set us free. No more need to be ashamed of who we are deep down, sit proudly behind the wheel, confess and drive off into the sunset.
Whoever came up with the idea to produce cars that share our deepest sin with the world has made our social media obsession obsolete and has brought back bravery. A car that is worth a thousand status updates.
Personally I cannot wait for the Sloth.