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When walking down the street, shopping in the supermarket, sitting in the park to enjoy the scenery, or doing any other ordinary thing in our daily life, we keep hearing the same repetitive sounds over and over again.
We look around us, and all we can see are people looking down at their cellphones, watching TikToks, scrolling through reels on Instagram, or checking shorts on YouTube.
We ask ourselves, “What is so important that people are always on their touch screens and listening to the same sounds all the time?”
We put on Sherlock’s famous hat and we decide to investigate.
Since we don’t have TikTok on our mobile device, we go on and download it, only to see mostly teenagers. We say to ourselves that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge, so we decide to stay a bit longer to see if things change.
They do. Now, we see doctors, lawyers, chefs, writers, and artists flooding in and posting useful tips from their level of expertise. We are seeing medical advice, legal advice, beautiful creations, paintings, photography, and, of course, funny videos on numerous topics.
Then there’s YouTube. We simply adore everything about it. We always use it to learn new skills, from cooking, to some woodworking around the house, to how to unlock our door if we forget the keys inside (don’t tell the FBI that I watch these videos), to music, and everything else really. The new shorts feature isn’t something that fascinates us, but we don’t find it annoying. Sometimes, we click on it, but most of the times, we don’t.
Instagram for us has always been used to see what other people are creating, so we don’t feel that the new concept of short videos on the platform is something odd. Instead of just seeing mouthwatering pictures of delicious food and only reading the description under each photo to prepare the meal, we are now able to see the person preparing everything in front of us with a faster rhythm than the ones on YouTube. We feel more comfortable now that we are able to see the artist actually drawing whatever piece of art he or she is creating, rather than just seeing the final product.
We feel really connected.
Unfortunately, as all great fairy tales have a sad ending, our story isn’t any different.
Everyone we’ve been following isn’t showing up on our feed.
We find ourselves obligated to search for them by their individual names to see their content. We are now bombarded with people mouthing the lyrics of famous artists and posting these videos for all of us to see.
No talent there. These people are repeating the same music we were witnessing in the beginning. Only now, it’s getting worse.
Irrelevant hand gestures have been introduced in the playing field. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is doing it. The value of these apps is rapidly skydiving, especially when a great number of the interesting people whom we follow are leaving these platforms because they aren’t being seen properly.
We are thinking about quitting as well.
A new notification sound comes out of our mobile device. One of the doctors we were following is back and has a new video for us to watch. We suddenly feel happy about this.
We unlock our phone, press on the notification, and we are directly taken to the newly posted video. Shocked, we press the off button of our screen. We see our reflection on the black screen of our phone with our mouth open and our eyes not believing what they’ve just seen.
We hear the same repetitive music. No!
We unlock it again to see if our eyes have deceived us. They haven’t. This doctor, who used to give his audience health tips to help people take better care of themselves has posted the same video with the same repetitive music and the same silly, irrelevant hand gestures. The video is on continuous loop in our hand, our brain not comprehending what it is seeing.
A few days go by and we start to see the people we follow and who remained on these apps doing the exact same thing.
After spending some time with ourselves, thinking about we saw, we come to realize the real reason behind it: the people we follow saw that their number of viewers decreased when they did not follow this new hype. When they weren’t able to reach more people, a majority of them decided to surrender their new fates to the gods of the Internet, and a small number of them decided to keep fighting back in order to get their words out.
This, of course, comes with a price to pay: they have to blend in and act silly as well.
I’m not writing this article to judge anyone, or to preach whom you should follow or not.
You always have the freedom to do whatever you want as long as you’re not hurting anybody. I am simply shedding some light on what’s happening in front of our eyes without moving a single muscle to get a hold of it before becoming even worse.
Creative people are under a tremendous pressure to create what they do without any help or funding, to make videos and stories about it, to share it with the world, and we are making things even worse for them. We are doing that by forcing them to join in the absurdity of the net and making them compete with talentless people to simply exist in the virtual realm and pass for a couple of seconds in front of our eyes before we continue with our scrolling.
And we have the audacity to ask ourselves why everything of importance is disintegrating when all of it is happening in front of us, and we are simply letting it happen.
We are the ones to blame for what the Internet has become these days. It’s becoming a place of hatred, self-righteousness, a cemetery for creativeness and acceptance.
It’s time to fight back, and it’s way easier than we think.
The solution is simple…unfollow.