Social media through Nietzsche’s eyes: Nihilism in the Age of Virtual Thumbs-Up
As I sit here scrolling through my social media feed, I can’t help but wonder what Nietzsche would have to say about this social media culture we live in. Indeed, most people believe that social media is simply a means of communication, a tool for sharing information and connecting with others. Others (the few) are starting to believe that social media has a more profound impact on society, to the point that it is shaping the way we think and behave. All these neuromarketing techniques and algorithms—this “new discipline”—collect” data about how our brains work and improve modern advertising methods. However, it is turning us into a society of dopamine addicts, constantly chasing the next like, comment, or share, and, worst of all, buying something we don’t really need.
Are we becoming a society obsessed with instant gratification? Is our success really measured in followers and popularity and not in the depth and quality of our thoughts or the strength of our character? In a world where social media platforms reign supreme, one might wonder if there is a deeper philosophy at play.
So, here goes my Nietzschean interpretation.
I bet that if Nietzsche were still alive today, he’d probably roll his eyes at all the attention-seeking and validation people crave through likes and shares.
Nihilism is the belief that life is ultimately meaningless and that there is no objective purpose to human existence.
This idea applies to social media in several ways. In Nietzsche’s view, the problem with nihilism is that it leads to a sense of emptiness and despair. On the surface, social media is supposed to connect us and bring us closer together. As we spend more and more time on social media obsessing over our digital identities and striving for validation, we may find ourselves feeling disconnected from the real world and uncertain about our place in it.
Nihilism has truly reached its peak when we find ourselves seeking meaning in the number of retweets or likes we get.
Yet, amidst this seemingly boundless opportunity for self-expression, a profound paradox unfolds.
In their pursuit of validation and affirmation, individuals unwittingly succumb to the tyranny of the herd.
They willingly relinquish their autonomy, surrendering to the collective will of the masses as they strive to conform to the prevailing norms and ideals of the digital domain.
In his time, Nietzsche advocated against the herd mentality and the mindless conformity of his society. I don’t think he would be pleased with what social media is doing to our collective consciousness today. We’re just stuck in a never-ending echo chamber of selfies and hashtags. It allows companies to optimize campaigns to engage customers more effectively by using tools such as social media. In other words, Nietzsche, so much for being unique, huh?
No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
It is known that Nietzsche was not into the whole conventional morality thing. Furthermore, Nietzsche believed that society’s major institutions, such as the church, education, and government, imposed limits on individual freedoms, keeping people within prescribed parameters and discouraging self-expression.
He was always questioning how institutions totally messed with people’s lives. This is so relatable to the current social media scene, which is like always changing and pretending to be all about personal freedom, but we don’t even get the real freedom we deserve.
Who needs evidence and logic when we can just live in a world of make-believe?
Consider Facebook and its “Like” button. Every time you click that button, Facebook collects data about what you like and what you don’t like. In reality, what they view is merely the idealized versions of their personalities that the social media influencers present.
Similarly, he would have said that social media serves the same purpose by molding us into our own bubble. With constant newsfeed cycles that might be dividing our communication with others, it also leads to shallow discussions where emotions overtake rational thinking.
The modern age of digital narcissism: the measure of one’s worth in the currency of a virtual thumbs-up!
Questioning the meaning of life and the existence of truth in the XXI century: Nietzsche and social media
In today’s world, which is a mecca for attention-seekers and mindless feeds, Nietzsche’s theories should resonate with all of us to an extent that is unnerving. Imagine this eminence, with his magnificent mustache and intense gaze, logging onto Instagram. scrolling through all those carefully curated profiles and endless debates about who has the best avocado toast, the best boobs or abs, cars, and gyms, pondering the absurdity of it all. Oh yeah, social media would definitely give Nietzsche some serious philosophical food for thought.
Yes, Mr. Nietzsche, God is dead, and now we’re all just trying to get more likes on our Instagram posts.”
How have times turned, huh? With God dead, it appears that humans have taken on the divine role of being their own gods.
If Nietzsche were to ask, “What is the meaning of all these selfies? Are we not more than just our filtered photos?”
How would I explain to Nietzsche that it’s all about curating the perfect image and selling it to the masses? I’m not exactly a social media sensation, but that’s the magic of neuromarketing and the era of the algorithm.
Algorithms are sets of steps that computer programs follow to get certain results, which usually makes them more efficient. The algorithms that run social media sites affect how we see the world, but they also help spread fake news, conspiracy theories, and hate speech. Businesses and advertisers use these algorithms to show people ads that are more relevant to them.
What is being an influencer?
Neuromarketing is a powerful tool that marketers use to influence our buying decisions. By understanding how our brains work, they can create campaigns that are more effective and increase their bottom line. Influencers have a large following on social media, and when they promote a product, it’s often viewed as a recommendation from a “friend” rather than a “traditional advertisement”. This triggers the part of our brain associated with social bonding, which makes us more likely to trust and ultimately purchase the product.
Taking pictures of oneself for likes and validation And what happens to one’s authenticity and genuine connection with others?
This era is like Plato and the cave in his allegory. These glimpses into their lives are just that: glimpses. And what about the things that truly matter? Social media presents an illusory reality that people accept as genuine. Who needs facts when we can just make up our own versions of reality? It’s not easy, you know. Oh, and about authenticity? Not really; it’s more about creating a brand and gaining followers.
What about truth and knowledge? Are they not important anymore?
Oh no, it’s not like objective truth matters anymore. Let’s just interpret everything however we want and pretend that reality is just a figment of our imagination, right? Your knowledge is just as good as my ignorance. For instance, many individuals perceive that social media represents an actual representation of the people they follow.
Ultimately, Nietzsche might not have been a social media critic in its entirety, but he would have raised critical points about how this new world affects people.
Nietzsche would consider the ephemeral and superficial nature of social media, where fleeting likes and comments only provide a momentary ego boost, to be inimical to genuine self-discovery.
So, seize the day, embrace the challenge, and become who you truly are. Only then can we truly overcome the nihilism that plagues our society and find the path to a better future.
Now that I am digging this kind of introspection, I can’t help but wonder: what would Freud, Kant, Marx, Hegel, Heidegger, and even the entire school of Frankfurt think about today’s social media phenomenon? I can just imagine.
Hope you enjoyed my humble point of view everyone.