There is this great saying where I live, “No eres un billete de veinte. No todo el mundo te va a querrer”. It translates as “You are not a twenty dollar bill. Not every one is going to like you.” When people go out of their way to make everyone like them they get this, because who doesn’t want twenty dollars? Sure in this day and age it doesn’t get to much but you get the idea. And that’s what happens now, specially in this world of likes and follows. We don’t want to be twenty dollars, we don’t even want to be fifty, deep down we all think it would be kind of awesome to be a hundred.
I am not saying every one wants to be recognised internationally or be famous, but people do want recognition, and positive recognition at that. That’s why a Google search on how to will lead you to a treasure trove of articles on how to have a successful blog, a famous Tumblr, a million followers on Twitter, or more likes in Facebook, the list could go on. I confess I looked at some with the excuse of “Well I never seem to stick with a blog so let me see what I can do to actually stick to it.”
People say that we live in a celebrity culture and that our obsession with the rich and famous is what drives us. Of course there has always been a kind of celebrity culture, it’s just easier now to attain a kind of following. It’s also easier to communicate with people and form connections and get approval from new people. Humans are social creatures and we like to be “liked”. Even if we don’t care for a number when we suddenly get a notification of a like or a pin or a reblog we get happy. And you know what? I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
Getting on and of the pedestal
Now yes, to extremes everything is bad. But feeling happy about an accomplishment should not be something that should be frowned upon the way it is. It’s one thing to teach humility and another to make it so one never sees a positive in what one does. I spent most of my high school years in an art school. Some teachers taught critique well, all the deals of constructive criticism, to be objective, all that jazz. But others where rather frustrated, you know the type of people who decide since they can’t do they’ll teach? Those where the ones that would trash student’s works or never seem to find anything positive or right in the student’s work. With time a lot of the kids who left the school did so because of frustration. They (myself included) were convinced they had little to no talent. Most never tried to draw or paint again, or if they did quickly gave up. Because again, when you are humbled to such a degree, you don’t even believe when someone says something positive.
There is a lot of talk of how young people of today are narcissistic and spoiled. That a generation raised on participation trophies and congratulations on trying has turned into self centred adults who believe they deserve more than they earn. This could be true, I mean I had a fair collection of participation ribbons from school sports events (never been a runner). And I have had friends who could benefit from being brought down a few pegs. But I think that like so many things of the digital age, it’s not a new phenomenon but just that now it’s more visible. What before were secret diaries now are public blogs. What was before hidden garage band practice now is a video in Youtube. Or maybe I am just trying to make excuses for my generation. Either way, I am sure we will find something with which to classify the future ones right?