Who will hold a brief for the real?


When I saw this image on Comical Concept I first found it funny. And then I realized how scarily true it is. It reminded me of a couple of paragraphs from Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together:

But online, you’re slim, rich, and buffed up, and you feel you have more opportunities than in the real world. So, here, too, better than nothing can become better than something – or better than anything. Not surprisingly, people report feeling let down when they move from the virtual to the real world. It is not uncommon to see people fidget with their smartphones, looking for virtual places where they might once again be more.

It is not unusual for people to feel more comfortable in an unreal place than a real one because they feel that in simulation they show their better and perhaps truer self. With all of this going on, who will hold a brief for the real?

As a constant user myself, it would be hypocritical of me to go on a rant against social media. But I do worry about how this story plays out. What happens when we get so attached to the online places where we “might once again be more” that we get tired of being with the people around us?