If you spend time on Twitter, you will often see posts touting the number of followers one has accumulated as if the sheer numbers are a mark of success or popularity. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are no better. Constantly adding friends is an important part of the social media experience. It does not matter that the friends are really not friends at all, or even acquaintances. But rather a random collection of people with little or nothing in common except to swell the numbers of their own followers. The result is an endless monotony of shallow tweets instead of a meaningful dialogue or the exchange of ideas.
The emphasis on numbers and counting starts at an early age in our society…how many presents did you receive at Hannukah or Christmas? How much candy did you collect at Halloween? How much money did the tooth fairy leave under your pillow?
As we grow older, we still concentrate on numbers, just in a more sophisticated manner. How many bedrooms in your mac mansion? How many cars in the garage? How many diamond tennis bracelets do you own? How many reps do you complete in the gym and how many steps per day do you record on your I-watch or fit bit? And regretfully, we even consider people not by their character or personality but by their net worth.
Counting penetrates most aspects of our lives and tends to suggest the absence of quality. According to an article I read by J.W. Trephagan, “We live in a “quantocracy.”…in a society driven by the idea that everything must be counted and then judged on the basis of how many of something we have accumulated – more is usually better.”
Social media platforms encourage us to network with as many contacts as possible, rather than connect with genuine friends or business associates. It’s all a numbers game. If we concentrate on the quality of our connections rather than the number of them, wouldn’t we be better off?
I, personally, would rather have five close friends, in whom I trust and can confide than 500 Facebook friends who know nothing about me and don’t care a thing about my life or what matters to me. I hope a lot of you reading this blog feel the same way.
Until my next inspiration…ciao.