Like most people, I’ve been a part of the various social-media outlets for quite some time now. When first creating my Facebook account back in 2008 I looked forward to having the ability to check out users’ profiles, whether they be schoolmates, friends, or just acquaintances (If you say you don’t creep on social-media, well, you’re lying). Over the years, I’ve noticed several patterns have developed amongst my friends on Facebook. People eventually fall into different groups. You have the drama queens (or kings) who feel the need to post their problems/issues as statuses, the people who invite you to play FarmVille or Bejeweled, and the over-sharers (people who feel the need to update their status and current location ten times a day). The users that irk me the most, however, are the show-offs.
Now, I consider there to be several types of show-offs. These range from those who brag about who they know to those who literally show off their body. In this post, however, I’ll be discussing the social-media user who throws his or her material wealth in your face. Since having a Facebook, I’ve had many friends who enjoy posting photos of their various vacations, clothing, cars, and even houses. One kid, in particular, however, takes the top spot. During our high school years, this user was notorious for posting weekly photos of his Mercedes C300, and the occasional video of himself doing burnouts in the school parking lot. This guy could also be found uploading photos of his newly finished house (rumored to be purchased by Derek Jeter), jet-setting vacations, and expensive shoes. Most students were aware of the fact that this person came from a family of substantial wealth. However, he made sure everyone knew. Throughout the years this person acquired several new cars, ranging from a BMW X5 to a Ferrari, and you could most certainly count on him letting everyone know. At first, people would comment and like these various photos, expressing how much they loved his new car, and how they would enjoy taking a ride in it. Over time, however, it seemed like less and less people would pay attention to the media being uploaded. Call me crazy, but I think this occurred because users became tired of the constant bragging.
In a post titled “5 Ways Social Media May Be Secretly Stressing You Out” the author states how “with the constant need to keep friends, family, and frenemies updated, knocking down your self-esteem has never been easier.” According to the post, one of the ways in which social-media can stress out its users is when people post information pertaining to landing their dream job, or getting a new car. This coincides perfectly with the kid I’m describing. When posting pictures of his luxury cars, chic clothing, and extravagant vacations, this guy makes me realize how hard I’ll have to work in life in order to attain such things. What makes this all the more frustrating is the fact that this person never took school seriously, and already has his future set up for him, thanks in part to his family business.
As mentioned above, people posting about landing a dream job can often lead to tension amongst users too. Well, this person seems to already have his “dream job,” as he works for his parents. Occasionally, he will post photos of himself while on the “job,” which I’m pretty sure doesn’t entail too much actual work. By posting photos of himself lounging at his desk, this guy only further aggravates me, as he was simply given the job, which will probably be secure for life. Now, I don’t know anyone who appreciates constantly being bragged to or hearing about how easy you have it. Bragging makes you seem both shallow and insecure. This guy obviously doesn’t realize this though, which relates to the idea of “context collapse,” which is discussed in “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube”. Michael Wesch describes how content put on the web can be experienced through different situations/contexts, which can ultimately lead to unwanted feelings and outcomes. Through posting various photos and videos of his extravagant lifestyle, this person may think he is simply sharing his experiences. In reality, however, he is causing some frustration amongst his users. I say users, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, as most people aren’t born with a silver spoon.
While searching the web for topics relating to social-media pet-peeves, I came across a video titled “Rich Kids 2.0: Social Media Gives New Ways to Show Off,” which discusses the various ways certain teens express their wealth. Many of these teens partake in a hashtag known as #rkoi, which means “rich kids of instagram.” If not already a part of this exclusive group, the kid from my high school certainly should be, as it suits him perfectly. I guess this is what he wants though: to be part of a certain group. In “Social Relationships and Identity Online and Offline” Slater states how “the most obvious feature of computer-mediated communications is that that it allows communications between people who are spatially dispersed” (535). Having the ability to post pictures of his expensive autos, designer clothing, and lavish vacations, he is allowing himself to connect with others who have similar lifestyles/experiences, which could be all he really wants.