Tag Archives: owni

Love and Breakups at the Time of Social Networks

This post originally appeared on OWNI, 7 March, 2011.

“Robert, I am leaving you.” In the initial moments after, all Robert could do was replay those words in his head until all the tears he could muster had spilled from his broken heart. Once the shock settled, he could throw himself into the comfort of a bottle of beer – or harder alcohol depending on the situation – to drown out his sorrows. Yet the inevitable form of cleansing was obvious, as we’ve all been Robert –  he needed to burn (or at least return to the original owner) the knick-knacks, photos, love letters, and the memories that were attached to those objects. He needed to reject the one who no longer wanted him. This is not an easy step to make, but once this purging has been accomplished then the relationship is truly over.

That was before…and like everything else, yes, it was better before. Now, Robert must also mange his failed love-life in the digital world.  It is nothing groundbreaking that our lives are not just physical, but also virtual. So if we raise the question whether our digital accounts will affect the grieving process of friends and family after out death, the same inquiry can be applied to breakups. Social networks have permanently changed the situation, making breakups more painful. A US marketing agency tried to create “break up with your ex day” on the same day as Valentine’s Day: time to turn the page, unfollow, untag, block, and move on! Wise decision, but breaking digital connections are not the same as breaking ties in real life. The digital world constantly reminds the most desperate and nostalgic of their misfortunes.

Facebook: the heroine for breakups

Lucy* had been dumped, and was too quick to take the decision to cut off her torturer from her Facebook profile. “I blocked him to avoid being tempted to contact him on his status updates. I knew I would post something or send him a message. It’s childish, I know!” Skip to the hater category, a well-known classic in the breakup realm. (more…)

The Race for Attention is Making Our Society More Egotistical

This post originally appeared on one of our favorite blogs, OWNI, 25 January, 2011.

Without indulging into the theories developed by radical sociobiologists, we can reasonably hypothesize that the development of the ego, vanity, and a sense of self-importance were more or less the result of evolutionary adaptations needed for our species’ survival.

THE NATURAL NEED TO EMERGE FROM THE CROWD
In prehistoric times, group survival depended on the level of strength and stamina individuals had in an insecure world where they were powerless against nature. They had to be strong enough to persevere over harsh weather conditions, long migrations, and other dangers in this savage world. They also had to be fit enough to compete against other males for females, thus perpetuating their contribution to the gene pool.

More than just mere strength was needed for survival: The cohesion and solidarity of the groupallowed people to defend themselves against larger animals and organize collective hunts. In turn the group provided food security for everyone, justifying why collective actions were instated as an efficient method for survival. (more…)