Kids are selfish.
They have a hard time thinking of others. Developmentally, this makes sense. It comes as no surprise that a child has a hard time understanding the thoughts of others because the child himself is only just beginning to make sense of his own thoughts. Kids are selfish and self-centered.
One of the results of this is a phenomenon known as the "Imaginary Audience". The imaginary audience is a state of mind that leads an individual to believe that everyone is watching him, thinking about him, evaluating him, etc. Naturally, this thinking affects the individual's behavior.
He is, in essence, always performing.
Now, for those young people afflicted with the pressure of the imaginary audience, they are expected to mature out of it. As they grow in knowledge and experience, they will realize that the world is just too big for everyone to be paying attention to them. However, the world seems to be shrinking every day. I can write a blog post from my home in the suburbs of Indianapolis that can be read by a friend in Berlin within seconds. A video can be taken anywhere in the world and gain traction via the internet within minutes after its uploaded (which can take just seconds).
This leads me to wonder if that is not what we do with all of our various social media platforms. The shrinking world has given anyone with an internet connection a bigger platform and a bigger audience. Are we always performing?
In the midst of all the turmoil of 2016, have we taken time to be silent? As I sit down monthly to prepare this singular blog post, I ask myself what I possibly have to add to the noise. There is a multiplicity of events to discuss: the presidential election and political corruption, the national anthem, the heroin epidemic, Hurricane Matthew, police brutality, systemic racism, bathrooms, and on and on. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't say anything. Sometimes I know that I don't have anything to add. There are people much smarter and much more well-informed on these matters that are doing plenty of talking and plenty of discussing. Just because I have an opinion and a platform doesn't mean I should say something.
In our digital age, silence is death. For many, to not be known on social media is to not be known at all. One must ask whether or not we have created imaginary audiences for ourselves. Are we performing out of self-centeredness? Are we merely feeding our pride and puffing out our chests when we post? Can we be content in the anonymity of silence?