Workism Is Making Americans Miserable

A man sleeps at his desk.

Excerpt from this article:

The second external trauma of the Millennial generation has been the disturbance of social media, which has amplified the pressure to craft an image of success—for oneself, for one’s friends and colleagues, and even for one’s parents. But literally visualizing career success can be difficult in a services and information economy. Blue-collar jobs produce tangible products, like coal, steel rods, and houses. The output of white-collar work—algorithms, consulting projects, programmatic advertising campaigns—is more shapeless and often quite invisible. It’s not glib to say that the whiter the collar, the more invisible the product.

Since the physical world leaves few traces of achievement, today’s workers turn to social media to make manifest their accomplishments. Many of them spend hours crafting a separate reality of stress-free smiles, postcard vistas, and Edison-lightbulbed working spaces. “The social media feed [is] evidence of the fruits of hard, rewarding labor and the labor itself,” Petersen writes.

Among Millennial workers, it seems, overwork and “burnout” are outwardly celebrated (even if, one suspects, they’re inwardly mourned)…

The problem with this gospel—Your dream job is out there, so never stop hustling—is that it’s a blueprint for spiritual and physical exhaustion.

Lonely and envious in real life? You’ll feel the same on Facebook

A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page and sending messages to her friends, UK<br>FDB0JA A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page

Excerpt from this article:

It turns out that staying away from Facebook for a bit could be good for you. Known by anyone who is actually honest with themselves, that piece of obviousness is now backed up by academics: experts – boo, hiss! – from the University of Copenhagen. The publication of The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Wellbeing makes it scientific fact now: social media sucks for you.

But you knew that. Facebook is, and always has been at heart, a party made up of people you don’t really like who all have better lives than you, and you’re the prat who walked through the door to hear about it. Everyone else’s holidays are more exciting than yours, their relationships happier, and their jobs way more impressive than the crap you’re dragging yourself through every day to scrape enough money together for Super Noodles. Because you can’t really cook, either. They can all cook.

 

This ‘disgusting’ app for rich people is actually all of us

Excerpt from this article (thanks for sharing the link Paul!):

To open the new social network Rich Kids is to induce a bout of FOMO from which you’ll never wake. The paid Instagram knock-off is an orgy of excess: Dog massages. Lamborghinis. Stacks of gold coins. Private planes.

For the low, low price of €1,000 per month, Rich Kids promises the one-percent of the one-percent an exclusive, virtual club designed just for them — a place where anyone can view pictures, but only the uber-rich can publish them. Since launching in late September, the Slovakian app has recruited a dozen members, including a Russian heiress, a rare coin dealer, and the scions of several prominent real estate families.

It’s also attracted a great deal of condemnation — even from the Apple App Store, which pulled Rich Kids last week. On Product Hunt, a sort of proving ground for new tech concepts and companies, critics panned the app as “awful,” “stupid,” “fantastically ridiculous,” “everything that is wrong with the world” and “disgusting.”

There are other things you don’t see on Rich Kids: no “haul videos,” no #blessed posts, absolutely no “food porn.” Those sorts of subtle class performances are for the plebs, the ones not yet rich enough to do away with decorum. Social media may have democratized the means of conspicuousness — but the wealthy have, and likely always will, own the best objects of consumption.

They get Bentleys and Rolexes; we get Pinterest boards with names like “Products I Love.”

We Need a Word for the Feeling of Mingled Happiness and Jealousy Caused by Facebook

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Excerpt from this article:

The heaviest users of Facebook believe that other people are happier. News feeds contain numerous “envy-inducing incidents,” and the more you skim, the more you compare yourself to others, leading to “invidious emotions.” Looking at your friends’ babies and vegetables might seem like a good idea at the time, but all those Anne Geddes shots will probably just make you sad.

But “sad” isn’t nearly a nuanced enough word for the confusing concoction of emotions at play. It’s sadness borne of envy—because your friend has what you want. Even acknowledging such envy can make you sadder, because you realize that underneath the jealousy, you really are genuinely happy for your friend. And there’s self-disappointment in the mix: You should be able to rise above your own jealousy, right? Aren’t you a good friend?

…This word doesn’t appear to exist in the English language, and a quick survey of world languages didn’t uncover it. The feeling turns “schadenfreude” on its head: Instead of happiness over others’ misfortune, it is closer to sadness over others’ success. I’m not a fan of clumsily flipping “schadenfreude” around and calling it freudenschade—although many have had this idea before. Perhaps if we made it freundenschade, layering in the German word for “friend”?

A close pal, upon being informed of the topic of this post, had an immediate, great suggestion: “frenvy.” But it turns out that someone else on the Internet already came up with that word. (I was relieved, as I’d loved the term immediately, and was a little bit jealous—frenvious?—that he, not I, had dreamt it up.)

 

On Instagram, the Summer You’re Not Having

It’s from last year, but FOMO is always a trend. Excerpt from this article:

And how has your summer been so far?

Have you been frolicking in the Hamptons with an Academy Award-winning actress? No?

Then you have clearly not been having as good a time as Amy Schumer, who, as reported by Vanity Fair in an article titled “See Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer Together on the Summer Vacation of Our Dreams,” documented on her Instagram account a trip she recently took with Ms. Lawrence, posting a blurry shot of herself and Ms. Lawrence on a Jet Ski. (There was also one of the two forming the top and bottom of a human pyramid on the deck of what appeared to be a rather sizable vessel.)

Did you have a chance to drift on a yacht off the coast of Ibiza with a rotating cast of guests that included Anne Hathaway, Olivia Palermo and a handful of male models? No?

 

Antisocial network: how self-deprecation is taking over the internet

girl with no job

Excerpt from this article:

Social media is often called out as an outlet for bragging. Or its spin-off, the #humblebrag. We hear all the time about how the pressure to keep up with the shiny, happy people we see on Facebook is making our mental health suffer.

…A popular internet trope is now the antisocial individual, the homebody, the push back from scenesters. It’s now all about revelling in singledom, jokes about therapy sessions, the terror of being an adult or putting it out there that hitting a club can actually be pretty hellish. And slumming it on the couch? Heaven.

The most popular memes on humour and pop-culture-based Instagram and Twitter accounts such as The Fat Jewish and Girl With No Job et al? Pictures of cats chilling on couches, confessions of a sub-par life and vignettes of people expressing a (sort of) joking disdain for other people. Or as one poster puts it: “God bless Uber drivers that don’t attempt small talk”.

…When Caterina Fake popularised the idea of (FOMO) or the fear of missing out, she wrote that the internet itself exacerbated this anxiety, and I’m sure she is right. But, in a world of constantly switched-on, ostentatious displays of popularity and people having an ostensibly TOTALLY AWESOME TIME, perhaps it isn’t surprising that things would start to pitch in the opposite direction (known as JOMO, joy of missing out).

 

 

Why Your Kids Love Snapchat, and Why You Should Let Them

Excerpt from this article:

The short shelf life of [Snapchat] images lets teenagers abandon the need to emulate the perfectly posed celebrity, or to represent life as more fabulous than it really is.

…Most visual platforms put feedback from peers at the center of the experience. Life on Instagram, for example, is as much about the rush of scoring likes as sharing something creative with peers. Many users view likes as a barometer of popularity and even self-worth, with some even deleting posts that haven’t drawn enough attention. For tweens and young teenagers, the yearning is so powerful that many post content designed only to collect likes (the popular “rate for a like” post, for instance, offers to rate friends on a scale in exchange for a like). They may follow “Instagram stars” with hundreds of thousands of followers, observing what appear to be perfect lives that are, in reality, perfectly curated.

Not so with Snapchat, where audience participation is minimal. There is no “like” button to be found here, and no unwritten rule of reciprocity. Users have two choices to share content: post a Story, where the app will stitch together a slide show of your content from the last 24 hours; or share directly with a person or group of your choosing. You can see who watched your Story, but viewers can’t reply. That means you spend more time sharing and consuming, and less time worrying about who liked you and who didn’t.