Click count, it has become a constant expression in everyday life of anyone working as a community manager or journalist, actually those two branches have intertwined to such extent they go along hand in hand. No matter how much you plan the time, circumstances or work on content you’re posting, if the post reach is not big enough, it’s all in vain. If not enough people have seen your work, if there’s no thumbs up reaction followed with a couple of comments and shares, it’s like you haven’t really done anything.
Let’s take a step back from public arena to personal use of Facebook or Instagram where it seems that more and more younger people present themselves in terms of a brand, marking their opinions, clothes or lifestyle as part of the puzzle which represents their lives as a whole. Carefully selecting what’s ready for publishing, as if they’re working for a celebrity or haute couture designer whose image on the internet equals the earned income.
The point of it all is to show only the best parts of life, or camouflage the unattractive parts to make them look attractive, as well. Even when it’s all about presenting the ugly, it happens in a controlled environment with an ironic element. That’s how todays marketing mechanisms work – perfection on one side, aesthetic of ugliness which is more popular than ever on the other.
The problem with obsession with clicks in journalism is obvious – there is a disproportion between quality of content and public engagement. Why is that? A search for a quick fix of fun and distraction, maybe? Uninterested, stupid public who doesn’t deserve more than reading about reality show personas and their idle existence? I don’t think so, I prefer to think the six major media corporations and their collaborations with sponsors who finance the media content are to blame.
I believe that this evaluation form most of us submit ourselves to voluntarily through social media can lead to strong feelings of insecurity and constant fear of being observed and judged from head to toe. That may seem like a personal, banal problem, but it actually affects social connections – relationships, friendships and people’s interests because in many cases they will choose to eat well or visit a special place in order to post a photo of it on some of the platforms. That way, more users will learn about you having fun and enjoying life, experiencing nice things among a small circle of closest people is just not enough anymore. The example of rich and famous whose egos go beyond anything imaginable show us the primitive core of human nature. The need to keep feeding the public with perfectly staged moments that should’ve been kept secret due to their intimate nature is unexplainable. All I see here is the need to remain in the centre of attention.
Similar scenarios happen among ‘the normal’ people, but on an incomparably smaller scale, of course. With just a little effort and time invested into creation of ‘visual identity’, it is easy to get the necessary approval from strangers. The thing is, people won’t give you compliments so directly in real life situations and we’re lucky it is so, just imagine strangers telling you how they like your hair, shirt or eyebrows. Creepy.
Becoming internet famous has become a real thing, it’s not just a South Park dark satire material anymore. Producing content with no meaning, lack of any kind of goal except to be liked and followed. Followed where? I don’t know.