Sep 082011
 
Authors: Matt Miller

“In the beginning Matt created a Twitter account. On the sixth day, his followers joined him and he said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply.’”

Last week I made a Twitter account, but I didn’t realize that by doing so I was tapping into a God complex that can only be aroused through social media.

I quickly realized that I could see the most intimate thoughts of the people in my life. When someone had a hard day and was going to take a nap, I knew. When there was a crime committed in town, I knew. When one of my children didn’t want to listen to that obnoxiously loud phone conversation at the DMV, I knew.

And for a while, I cared.

“Matt saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

What was better than hearing the thoughts of my followers was being able to directly speak to them. They could hear my words when I told them I was at Pizza Casbah or that I’m not a fan of dreadlocks.

Soon I realized I couldn’t keep up with my followers comings and goings, and I was struggling to fill them in on my every thought and action.
For me, life was hard as a divine being. I wasn’t like Tila Tequila who can balance life as a reality TV super-personality and act as an idol for nearly 76,000 loving followers.

Just this Wednesday she sent this Tweet to her devoted disciples, “What is ur purpose in life???? Well that’s easy! To love me, of course! Duh!!! 🙂 Now u know ur pourpose! Doesn’t it feel great? Hehe.”

There was no way I was capable of writing scripture like this.

After a week, I started to get sick of my children. I didn’t care if they were angry, tired or shopping. And most of all I knew I didn’t have what it took to gather a loyal following.

“Matt saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

I had learned of my own mortality, and the mortality of my divine counterpart Tila Tequila.
I’m not a god, but on Twitter, on Facebook and in chat rooms, everyone feels all-powerful.

The Internet has managed to compile the world into a laptop, desktop or cell phone and make it about one thing, the user.

We have been fed the illusion that everyone on the web is enthralled with our every thought. And so we retreat into this comfort zone every single day.

The Pew Research Center found in 2010 that 52 percent of Facebook users and 33 percent of Twitter users visit these sites every day.

It’s as if this power has caused us to turn away from the outside world only to retreat into our cyber-egos. We are a generation of introverted extroverts.

Can you blame us, though?
The real world holds do-nothing politicians, social riots, a crippled economy and less than bleak job opportunities for any 20-something about to enter the work force. With social media it’s easy to turn a blind eye away from this world to one of monotonous comfort.

In our cyber world, it’s all about us — our thoughts, our opinions, our future. We have followers, friends and circles that care about us and listen to us.

The Internet has, in countless ways, tapped into social nature of humans and enhanced it beyond our wildest imaginations. We can communicate today instantly when only two decades ago it required finding a pay phone or spending days to wait for mail (I assume it took days, though I don’t have much experience with traditional mail).

Although this breakthough in technology has led to what I call “the social media God complex,” it doesn’t have to be this way. Social media is a tool, a tool to make friends, or strengthen and continue those bonds with the people we already care about.

Maybe it’s wrong to muddy this tool with our own social media God complexes?

I like to think of it this way: picture Twitter as a room that is over-capacity and everyone in it is screaming about themselves. Through the shouting, you’re trying to talk to a friend who moved across the state, or trying to hear about how your parents are doing.

Maybe it’s best to step outside and listen to the silence?

Then again, maybe the future of the Internet is to keep feeding the egos inside ourselves?
Either way, we will eventually have a revelation.

_News Editor Matt Miller is a senior journalism major. His column will appear Wednesdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com.
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