23 comments

  1. Err,. I hope you’re just being poetic there. Is SMP a thing?

    I reckon social media use is often a symptom of social phobias that can aggravate the original problem, but can you really develop a phobia to social media per se? I mean social media suicide is easy. You just delete your accounts. Then you can resurrect as someone completely different who doesn’t need to be afraid. Yet.

    Or do you mean feeling afraid of what’s being done with all the data about you and your contacts that’s being harvested when you use social media?
    That’s not a phobia. It’s a completely legitimate fear.

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    • Both. It’s so much easier being sociable face to face. I never thought I’d say that, as it’s always been difficult that way too. Never knew there could be a more stressful way to interact, but social media is it! I need a lot of sensory clues, signs, etc. and even then…
      I’m the same on the phone. Terrible phone phobia, but the alternative is disconnecting completely, which I’m sure many people have fantasized about, but if we do that, then we have nothing, because we can’t socialize anymore in this present climate anyway. Not that I was ever a big socialiser. I couldn’t resurrect as someone completely different, as I’d feel like a fraud. Though, I can see how that could solve a hell of a lot of problems.

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      • I can see your points but can’t see how it results in phobia.

        I don’t like talking on the phone either and, yeah, the lack of non-verbal cues makes me feel like I’m trying to communicate down a long, dark tunnel. But I don’t communicate so well face-to-face or in writing either. That sort of thing makes me feel frustrated, annoyed, alienated, isolated … but not scared.

        Social media is liberating that way. You can be certain that no matter how good you are at communicating, how much care you take over what you say and how you say it, there’s always going to be many people who are going to read it and take away a message that would horrify you. Sometimes they leave comments. But on the other hand there’s also going to be people who get pretty much exactly what you were trying to say. Maybe even more than you knew you were saying. So there’s ultimately no point in trying to ensure you’re enlightening someone or offending no-one or building your social contacts or fighting your loneliness. The internet contains all possibilities and your words can mean any of them. You’ll be misunderstood by others and if you take it to heart you’ll misunderstand yourself.

        So what’s to fear? Unless you’re afraid of everything.

        But maybe that’s the problem, eh? Maybe we’re not really talking phobia. If that were the case the opportunity social media offers to carefully control your exposure would be a great way to deal with it. Maybe we’re really talking anxiety.

        I reckon most anxiety is essentially performance anxiety. It’s rooted in the fear that you’re failing to live up to the expectations you’ve encouraged others to have of you (whereas depression is more rooted in the failure to live up to your expectations of yourself). Responding so as to reinforce those expectations by polishing your social image will just make the problem worse. You can try harder to be the person you’re pretending to be, but I don’t think that works in the long term either. The best approach I know is to try to fit your social image as closely as possible to who you think you are, rather than who you want to be or who you want people to think you are. Then you don’t have to worry about being exposed to yourself or others as a fake.

        Unfortunately our culture doesn’t encourage that. It’s all compare-and-compete and fake-it-until-you-make-it. Build an edifice of bullshit and occupy it as if it’s you. You don’t use introspection to ask yourself what you want to know about yourself. You use affirmations to tell yourself what you want to hear about yourself. Then you tell it to others.

        If you embrace a culture of bullshit you’ll come to see yourself as bullshit and no matter how hard you work at fooling yourself there’ll always be that smell to remind you of the danger the facade will collapse and you’ll be left exposed like in one of those dreams where you’re walking naked down Main Street. That’s something to feel anxious about.

        (BTW, according to Harry Frankfurt there’s daylight between bullshitting and lying. A liar has to think he knows the truth and try actively to misrepresent it. A bullshitter doesn’t care about the truth, only the impression her words are making. So if you find yourself making statements without first considering whether they’re true you may be a bullshitter. And if those statements are about yourself you may be invested in protecting a self image you know at some level is false. OTOH, literature can often be about trying to communicate truth with non-truth via impression. Trying to stop those things smearing into each other can be tricky, especially since everything we write is ultimately about ourselves.)

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  2. ‘But I don’t communicate so well face-to-face or in writing either.’
    I think you communicate exceptionally well in writing Cabrogal !
    We get a general picture of the people we communicate with, via words, online, but we can only really know someone if we meet them face to face. Saying that, there are a handful of people I do trust online, never having met them. I think this is the exception rather than the rule.
    The lack of social/visual/verbal cues on social media can be disconcerting and confusing. If a person is empathic, they can read a social situation to some extent, even if they can’t handle it, but on social media, it can be more difficult. It’s hard to know who to trust, and whether we should trust anyone at all. It takes me longer to smell bullshit in social situations, but online, I must admit, it’s easier. It’s that ‘distance’ I suppose, that gives us a heads up that we wouldn’t normally have.
    If people are vulnerable, they might unknowingly misrepresent themselves online, because they don’t know who they are. I think most people, know what they are doing, and exploit it to the max, and good luck to them, as long as they don’t hurt other people.

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    • I think I’m a reasonably skilled craftsperson when it comes to writing and speechifying, but I don’t see myself as a skilled communicator. Maybe that’s because the stuff I try hardest to communicate isn’t just beyond my capacity (maybe my understanding?), but often counter to what our society and culture keep saying.

      IMHO, good writers can overcome that. I can’t. Maybe I lack the vicious streak required to truly communicate. Communication is a deeply personal form of assault for which it’s impossible to obtain informed consent. If I stick my ideas into you there’s no shower that can wash them out. I think I understand that as well as, say, Bret Easton Ellis, but lack his penetrative talents.

      “In many ways, writing is the act of saying ‘I,’ of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying, ‘Listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.’ It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act.” – Joan Didion

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      • I’ve never thought of communication as an assault before, but it makes sense, I haven’t been able to put my finger on that feeling of dirt and confusion after most social interactions, or maybe that’s just me. Some people can filter a little, others extremely well, like psychopaths and sociopaths and psychic vampires. Empathy leads people wide open to that ‘assault’ and you’re right, a thousand showers can’t wash it off. They dirty our brains! I want a brain shower…but not brain washing.
        I wonder what a brain shower would look like.

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      • I’ve never been able to put my finger on that feeling of dirt and confusion after most social interactions

        Could be something to do with autism. And the fact so many social interactions are built of bullshit.

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      • I don’t think it’s so much that I’m literal. I think I’m OK with abstractions, metaphors, mythology, symbolism and stuff. It’s more like there’s assumed knowledge in social interactions that I don’t have. Like an ‘in joke’ that I’m not in on. The ‘truth’ arises from a combination of the words and the prior knowledge. On their own the words have no truth value so come across as bullshit to me.

        An example:

        Someone I know does date coaching. The very first substantial statement in her workbook – which she ostensibly uses to justify the ten line self-affirmation exercise she gives – goes like this.

        “If you had a salesperson tell you ten great things about a product you would be hard pressed to say that it wasn’t worth the money.”

        On the face of it this is risible. Anyone growing up in a consumer society who’d believe something like that would have to be severely learning disabled. But her clients don’t throw her workbook in her face yelling “What sort of an idiot do you think I am?”. That’s because they already know something about the values and rituals of contemporary dating culture and are able to hear the message behind the words, which is actually a truthful disclosure of what’s being taught here and acts as a priming statement to help them to interpret the rest of the workbook.

        It’s true meaning goes something like this.

        “Welcome to my date coaching classes where you are a consumer item learning to market itself and honesty is irrelevant.”

        It took me weeks to work that out. I suspect her clients get it immediately.

        Bret Easton Ellis had no trouble telling the world what he thought of that attitude to human relationships. I can’t even tell one small woman.

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      • ‘Like an ‘in joke’ that I’m not in on.’
        And you wonder why and how they know all that. And how come they know it and I don’t. Was there some class that I missed? Okay then, hundreds of classes? It’s perplexing but at my age now I’m glad I’m on the outside of that. Exhaused with fighting it on one hand and trying to understand it on the other, I’m learning finally that the ones who get us, are the important ones, as few and far between, as they are. I know that doesn’t always help us out there in the real world but still, it’s a comfort…
        Dating coaches are the epitome of what we’ve been discussing. They hold the septre and wear the crown of the ‘communication skills’ we’ve been talking about. After reading ‘The Art Of Seduction’ by Robert Greene, I felt I knew a little more about deception and it helped my understanding of dishonesty, ‘communication skills’ and the ‘non verbal skills,’ they employ, which are vastly important in the dating arena. Then I researched neuro linguistic programming, which is also heavily used in dating coaches repetoire.

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  3. Dating coaches are the epitome of what we’ve been discussing.

    I’d remained blissfully ignorant of them until last year. What my acquaintance does for a living prompted me to do a bit of research and what I found shocked me.

    The misogyny, misandry and misanthropy on display. The rapeyness of their advice and attitudes – including the women – that comes from treating human beings as objects to be manipulated and exploited. The way they borrow shitfuckery from each other to advise their clients to use against their dates. The dehumanisation and subhumanisation of clients, their dates and the human race in general.

    Pretty much all of them explicitly divide everyone into ‘high value and low value people’ or a whole gender into ‘low quality and high quality women’. Everyone is a priced commodity and relationships are market transactions.

    They’re targeting people whose loneliness makes them vulnerable to the same old marketing crap of “buy this and find love”. Then they trash their capacity for self-reflection by encouraging them to pig out on shallow, unexamined self-esteem sugar hits and aggravate their attachment issues to make them more insecure and dependent. They try to turn them into sociopaths with shit concepts of human worth and the idea that ‘successful’ relationships are built on deceit and manipulation that should be evaluated entirely by what you can get out of them minus what you think you’re putting into them.

    That’s what happens when you turn our most important human connections into a for-profit industry.

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    • I did research on this unpalatable subject, a few years ago because I was being targeted and it was messing with my mind quite badly. Every psychological ‘trick’ he used, I was able to find online, verbatim! And it led me to that…world. It’s like a script, everything they say and do. It ended up being very valuable information and I was able to get out of the situation before he could get his claws into me, so to speak, but I still have the mental scars.
      It’s all about notches on the bedpost and about ‘duper’s glee’ and destroying people, just for the fun of it. Derek Rake’s technique, which is a fractionation formula was turned into the more ‘harmless’ Scrambler technique and a disclaimer was put on the site saying something like; ‘This method can permanently damage a women’s psyche. So be responsible when using it.’ Be responsible when using it? They wouldn’t know responsible if it kicked them up the arse! That’s like putting a loaded gun in a psychopaths hand! P.U.A’s get all their mind tricks from MK Ultra. The sick bastards have the C.I.A to thank for their ‘enriched’ love lives. I love that word ‘shitfuckery’ by the way. That’s going into my vocab.

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      • Do you mean you didn’t respond to “The 8 things that will make her adore you” or follow “The 5 steps from the friend zone to the bedroom”? C’mon Sue, these people are experts. We keep getting told we need to follow the advice of experts.

        Yeah, the pick up artist stuff is fucking creepy, isn’t it? Not to mention rapey. I sure wouldn’t want to be a woman targeted by one of their graduates. Or a man, come to think of it.

        But the tactics women get taught to get a man to ‘open up’ or ‘make him commit’ are pretty fucking awful too. Why would you be so keen to make someone commit to a relationship you’ve just founded on lies and emotional manipulation? Is that supposed to be fun or something?

        A lot of this isn’t about relationships at all. It’s a social game you play for self-esteem. The object isn’t to make a healthy relationship that will ‘succeed’. It’s to care less than the other person when it fails. That means you win and you can pat yourself on the back for being an accomplished dater.

        Unfortunately they hook a lot of lonely people who really want someone special in their lives. Then they teach them to treat them with zero respect so they’ll soon be lonely again and back on the meat market.

        And honest, open communication? Don’t make me laugh. You’re paying so much attention to your own performance you’ve got no time at all for what your date might be trying to tell you.

        I love that word ‘shitfuckery’ by the way. That’s going into my vocab.

        Careful. You wouldn’t want people thinking you’re Australian.

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      • I agree with all of the above. I think you sum it up when you say it’s a social game played for self esteem.
        Oh, is ‘shitfuckery’ particularly Australian?

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