This week’s Freshly Pressed posts continued to impress us with the range, depth, and honesty of the material being put out into the world by WordPress.com bloggers. As a community, you’re bold, not afraid to put yourselves on the line, and committed to chewing through important questions, even if you don’t always have the answers to them. That makes for heady reading, and passionate, opinionated conversation in the comments afterwards.
If you’re looking for something to read this week, we’ve picked three posts that share a preoccupation with trying to be authentic in a high-speed world that often demands that we’re anything but. How do you stay true to yourself when the world around you so actively encourages vapid, “phony” responses to seemingly inescapable situations? In three very different posts, this week’s selection of bloggers tackle that question in their own way.
We face these kinds of tough decisions every day, sometimes without even considering the moral and ethical significance. Cheating and getting ahead is the easy decision. Choosing not to cheat is the tough one. However, cheating does, after all, imply getting a competitive advantage. What if you are at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t cheat because everybody else is? It’s easy to justify it in our own heads when we are pursuing our goals to be successful and respected.
DF Salvador’s expansive post on the ethics of cheating to get by, or to become successful, spans from gaming online Scrabble to Lance Armstrong’s dubious decisions on the road to sporting success. At the heart of this post is the thorny question of how, and when, to stay true to oneself even when everyone around us is using artifice and underhand tactics to get ahead. It’s not an easy question, and there are no easy answers, but DF Salvador’s post explores and examines the motivations and societal pressures on all of us to sell ourselves short in the pursuit of success.
Everywhere we turn these days we hear about people “keeping it real.” But which real-self are they keeping true to? This sense of “keeping it real” could in actuality be about projecting that self that is dependent on the social world–An identity that has been constructed just for a public image. So, in reality one would “be keeping it fake real.”
Psychologist Mimi’s post tackles the problem of striving for authenticity in a personal and professional context, when authenticity is very much a social construct that falls apart at the drop of a feather. In a world of mediated experience and media-saturated personalities, is it foolish vanity to attempt to be the “real me”, and if not, what separates that from something altogether more “phony”? From Catcher in the Rye to Kim Kardashian, Psychologist Mimi interrogates our universal quest for authenticity and draws some interesting and unexpected conclusions.
Just like my Instagram photos were starting to feel meaningless, so too were most of the “first Vines” I saw posted yesterday. Vines of people Tweeting about Vine. Vines of people making coffee. Vines of people drinking coffee. Vines of dogs. Vines of cats. Vines of people dressed like cats. Vines of a dying Tweetie Bird. Vines of people eating food. I’ve yet to post a Vine, because I feel as if I have nothing Vine-worthy to record.
In Eric Leamen’s post for CE, he reflects on the dangers of the medium becoming the message. Leaman draws on his experiences with Twitter, Instagram, and Twitter’s new 6-second video service Vine to reflect on the impact of feeling perpetually pressured to post something, anything, to social media services. When posting becomes more important than having something significant or meaningful to share, to what extent do we end up sharing vapid, empty, and arguably inauthentic nothings before wondering why nobody seems particularly interested. Eric Leaman explores this idea by way of a piece of frozen pizza.
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what, nobody likes the Hazard Hot Sheet???
“Frozen Pizza” was an excellent article.
i was disappointed with this week’s faves…i’m pretty sure i’ve seen the cheated one on here very recently (or part of some other WP compilation). as for the frozen pizza one, it was a pretty boring read and i got nothing out of it; i was expecting some insightful thoughts and all i got was a guy bored with his toys.
too bad. i look forward to the friday faves as inspiration.
I really had to make a point that has been failed to be considered –
To say that the pictures were “vapid” and ‘meaningless’, I think if you are going to question that, then you may as well question every aspect of your life. The point of instagram and twitter is to share the things the you encounter on a day to day basis and to one person the post may seem insignificant or boring but to another person it might be quite interesting. And as a record for yourself you could look back in a years time or several years time and remember that moment and perhaps why it was… or wasn’t significant to you.
Before Cameras, Royalty had pictures painted so they could be remembered and a record would be of how they wanted themselves to be perceived by future generations – it may be a long shot but if these pictures were to be found in hundreds or thousands of years time, think of how useful that picture would be to a Historian?
I don’t think people ever actually look at the bigger picture of taking photographs and recording what happens – how important is it really to capture the day to day ongoings of an average person’s life- very important.
I’m not sure if anyone else would agree with that? Let me know what you think.
I totally dug the “Frozen Pizza” article by Eric Leamen; thanks for sharing it! This part in particular stuck out to me: “Services like Instagram and Vine are fuelling the frivolous. Many people, myself included, are fooled into this false belief that we always have something interesting to say or share. I think it’s important to be aware of this false sense of importance, to step back a little bit and ask ourselves if what we’re doing means something. Next time you post a Tweet, take an Instagram photo, update your Facebook status, or record a Vine, ask yourself “Why am I posting this? Does it really matter?” ….
When I started my blog I felt like I had to post something every single day, and eventually like Leaman, I reached a day when I was just trying to come up with something rather than post something that felt actually meaningful. Like him, I too abandoned my Instagram habit when I reached the same experience with it.
With my blog, I set myself free of the must-post-daily quota and now I post when I feel I really do have something relevant, meaningful or pertinent to share. I hope it reaches people, and in doing so, makes me feel like I said something worth hearing/seeing. Thanks for the food for thought!
The frozen pizza article was great.
The Cheating Confession was well written and gives us a different perspective on the topic
I was particularly impressed with the social media post. It’s so interesting that this is an age of narcissism because of our need to not only post post post, but our need to have people follow, like and share. We feel like everything we do is noteworthy, when in fact a lot of it is just empty musings.
I think recording for posterity is important, but it has never struck me as personally important to record mundane day to day things about my life. Maybe partly because it seems to take away from the living of it, to constantly step outside of it to observe. It’s something that just seems to be overdone. Also, isn’t it our responsibility to make sure it has a chance to be interesting before sharing it? Or is it okay nowadays to just share shotgun style? What do I know? Many of the more recent social trends are completely alien to me.
Loved the frozen pizza article. I do agree that Facebook and other forms of social media do tend to put pressure on people into thinking they must post something to make it look like their life is interesting. I found myself caught up in that as well and in the end you end up with a lot of garbage on your profile and after a while it did make me wonder if anyone really cared about what I was posting. I realized after watching the Jeff Probst show the other day, that in reality, no one really cares what anyone else thinks or does. Everyone is constantly wondering if everyone else is noticing them. I realize now, that if there is something I want to do, then I just have to do it and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Great picks! That frozen pizza picture is icky!
frozen pizza. first world problems.