While scrolling through Instagram this week, a now commonplace hashtag really got us thinking about the new world of influencers and their apparent lack of originality. That hashtag is #mood. The first thought, of course, is ‘what does that even mean?’. Is it a good mood, a bad mood, ambience, what?! Turns out it’s all of the above. This hashtag is simply telling us that the person posting is experiencing some sort of mood. Are we so detached from life that we have to remind each other of the human condition?
Ok, it’s just a hashtag. It just happens to be the one that set this into motion. We all understand by now that social media, whichever platform you happen to use the most, will have buzzwords and trending phrases. It’s kinda’ how it works. But it may be a sign that we are running out of original things to say…
Lessons from the past
Social media is such an incredibly efficient and easy way to communicate. One of the earliest examples of messaging on a global scale is the ‘Republic of Letters’, the long distance intellectual community of the 17th and 18th centuries regarded as the ‘Age of Enlightenment’. But a letter takes time and effort. There would need to be good reason for writing it and sending real-life people around the world to deliver it! As enlightened as we are these days, it may be so easy to blurt out every thought and feeling we have that we do just that. Not giving a second thought to what we might be saying.
The modern answer
It’s not that we are incapable of original thought, rather it may be easier to stay relevant by saying the same things. Being unique may even be a punishable offence socially if you no longer seem like one of the in-crowd. This is even more apparent in the Chinese social media landscape where culture and new technologies are merging in this way. Though the Western world claims to be individualistic, we also can’t bear the thought of losing those likes!