23) connecting and controlling the content

My December to Remember: Day 23

It’s not someone else controlling “the simulation we live in.” We do that ourselves. We’ve been in control this whole time. That’s why everything is so cringey. It’s our collective You see those singin’ and dancin’ nurses in the East Room today? On Festivus of all holidays? Talk about airing of grievances. This is the perfect day to do it.

Nah, never mind. Some things are better left unsaid. I’m sure I could do something like make a TikTok of my reaction to the ultra-cringe levels of two unmasked soccer moms belting out their Broadway production, while a bunch of nurses uncomfortably sway behind them. Yeah. Just me watching the video and emphasizing my expressions as I give a genuine reaction. There’s a market for it. Maybe I’ll go viral. It might even garner hundreds of thousands of views if I’m lucky. A site like TikTok allows for that. These videos need to get a point across in less than sixty seconds. It’s been an interesting growth story to watch. But the days of creation are long past me at this point.

Cloudflare says TikTok was the most visited site on the internet in 2021. It got more clicks than Google, and boasts over a billion active users in a month. So obviously people get a kick out of it. It’s continued what its predecessor Vine began, by offering microdose videos that appeal to our ever-shortening attention spans. I’m really not knocking this when I say this form of content creation is past me. I just can’t get there. I don’t get it. It would be incredibly difficult for me to partake in. But I can observe what’s really going on here.

For the most part, our internet media is consumed like this. Short bursts of content that allow us to take whatever context out of it. We arrive in the middle of things a lot of the time. The video begins, but we don’t see the exact beginning of it all. You don’t get to see the thought process that leads up to someone’s rant, a confrontation, the state of mind of someone’s TikTok dance. And this isn’t a complaint. I know it’s impossible and I’m not clamoring to see that anyway. I just find it interesting how this style of content has shaped an entire generation.

We want to do things for clout. For attention. To get a point across. That’s nothing new. I just think the content we’re creating is contributing to all the other weird things we’ve been seeing lately. In this “simulation” as some say. We’re pushing the limits of human interaction and now we’re just seeing the effects. Maybe our responses shouldn’t be to point out the cringe anymore. Maybe it’s not about dunking on things or making fun of them in a show of oneupsmanship. Maybe it’s about making real life happen, whether you record it or not.

I don’t like thinking this is a “simulation” because that implies someone else is at the controls. I control my own content. I control what I put out. And no one is sponsoring me to do it. It’s not always the easiest thing to remember the internet isn’t real life, but sometimes it help lays out the blueprint for what we want to see. I think I’m going to see less cringe and wish for more connections. I feel so far apart from everyone, so detached and gone from sight that I can create whatever I want. I’ll ease up on the horrors and hope for something more. And when it happens, it won’t be something you first see on an internet video.

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