They've been here since just before the turn of the 21st century.
It all began with the humdrum of a few reality TV shows. Yes, we all like a bit of voyeurism now and then curious about people, the way they interact and deal with certain situations.
I did think this was a passing trend back then, that we would get bored with the lobotomising effect of the trivial fiascos inflicted on harebrained subjects.
After all voyeurism can only satisfy so much of one's psyche.
How mistaken I was.
Some of the "Pioneer" Reality TV shows from the Early '00's that have since been buried deep in the "grave" grave yard of truly shitty TV...and one that is still here to haunt us. Jersey Shore, Big Brother, The Anna Nicole Smith Show, The Simple Life, The Osbourns, The Bachelor.
So now we're in 2018 and that genre has grown beyond all expectations.
There have been speculations that the trend is dying but the numbers are never wrong. Statistics all across the world prove that the human race is still hooked on the manufactured diarrhoea of "real" human drama and the rise of the un-inspiring.
As if that wasn't enough to discredit our intellect, here comes the smart phone.
On it we can now access all the social media platforms to add to our voyeurism fetish. Are these platforms the greater evil due to its interactive capabilities? I believe there are two sides of the coin to this debate.
Has technology advanced too much, too fast?
All technological devices and social media platforms have become an integral way we live today. They affect our choices of consumption, manipulating them en-masse, creating this collective group exercise.
Have our standards and individual nature been eroded in favour of a "one size fits all" mindset? Have we become one monoculture of the mind?
Whilst social media is a brilliant tool with great possibilities and benefits, there is also the flip side in which damages will be inflicted on its societies of users.
It's like a drug, feeding your ego with a "high" that you do not want to "come down" from. I agree, reality is not always pretty, but you cannot make it pretty unless you know how ugly it is.
It is creating an alternative world where we can live in falsehood with unrealistic expectations and dare I say…acute delusions of grandeur and status.
So, you are now a mini celebrity with your X amount of followers and people telling you how fabulous and talented you are even though you plainly suck. Keep in mind as well that the likes and followers are in large part bots. Bots are people too...I shouldn't judge.
So I'm sure the "actual human being" that left that little emoji comment was totally engaged in your post and didn't leave said emoji or generic monosyllabic comment in an attempt for one in return...or to try and pouch some of your followers...Is that attempted theft?
Anyway...the rule of thumb for a truly influential and trailblazing social media identity is to wear as little as possible...even if your partial nudity is offensive for all the wrong reasons. It's all about passive porn these days...that hardcore stuff is so 20th Century.
Yes, the truth hurts but improvements can only be built on a platform of true analysis.
The smartphone in practice of it's intended use. When IBM released the Simon Personal communicator in 1992 (The first touch screen smartphone and 15 years before the Iphone), I'm sure they didn't have visions of "cock shots" and "Duck face". Back in 1992 the term "selfie" would have probably been misconstrued as an act of "self love"...Then again, I guess it still is?
Let's shine a smartphone bright blue light on the so called "fashion influencers", who cannot put half an outfit together, critics and professed experts in areas which they are not legally, technically or expertly trained in. These Johnny come lately's of today with a soap box and self inflated expertise and knowledge. Simply being able to dress yourself and pose for a camera does not make you the authority of style and good taste...no matter what the other desperate people simply liking for likes will tell you.
The Zeitgeist of today may have you believe that you can get the "look" with as few dollars and as little effort as possible is a complete fantasy.
It is the fine details and learned expertise that separates the genuine from the obviously messy imitations.
Only the true professionals can provide that by their investment in the years of learning and honing their craft. They do not simply regurgitate ideas from others.
It is truly sad that industries, especially the creative industries are bastardised by the acceptance of the prevalent lower standard markers.
Mediocrity is the death of genius.
It kills me that the mediocre is getting all the cred while I see the truly talented and learned who have a much higher standard of professional and creative output being overlooked.
It seems that one's worth or capabilities is firstly and foremost measured by one's social media popularity...WTF!
Sort of like today's politics really, popularity over principles and effectiveness.
This is a bad thing for humanity and the evolution of our progress.
Genius is sacrificed for marketable mediocrity, cheap over quality, en masse duplication over individuality, creative over bland and ultimately, vacuous over intellect.
Technology has been our greatest achievement, yet it has shown to adversely affect the way we are able to process real and tangible experiences and also personal expectations.
It demonstrates how it can shape our perceptions, needs and wants due to its preferential nature in favouring specific hashtags and feed our obsessive-compulsive need for the "trending" places, products, people etc.
This type of modified consciousness changes the dynamics of societies and we soon find ourselves living within this world of targeted algorithms which is starting to feel very George Orwell's 1984.
Going back to my point in the opening in which this could also be said of reality TV that has now been an ever-present distraction for almost the past 20 years.
Reality TV has become so ingrained in our modern culture that it now influences people in the way they make their life choices and perpetuates this need we seem to have to be exposed…that it can somehow be a springboard to a better life through association.
It really is just confirmation of everything that has become so dysfunctional in our society today, just like those "housewives" you see on the small screen.
I am puzzled that anyone would idolize and emulate these reality TV "characters".
You want to be a ditzy waxwork with a bad wig who has no idea of using your fortunate financial standing for good?
Then you belong to the mob of self-obsessed, ego maniacal of sheep below.
The exemplary behaviour of an "adult" woman from one of those "Housewives" shows. It is truely amazing that anyone could sit through an episode of a bunch of cronies behaving like they were still 15 traipsing around the playground ...when they clearly aren't as sophisticated as most 15 year olds today.
Yes, such sheep are obsessed with celebrity status, giving birth to self proclaimed titles such as "influencers", "entrepreneurs", "public figures", "social media celebrity" etc. etc.
So, we can now be whoever and whatever we want to be at our whim and fancy.
Why not? Proper credentials are a thing of the past. We can always dumb down the real talent and brains of the industries, just keep your "likes" up and you're certainly better than anyone else.
This is such a fundamental problem I feel has affected our personal and professional barometers that we are allowing ourselves to be less than what we can be. As a result we are now mindlessly accepting any beautifully wrapped turd as an object of desire just because everybody else says its "insta-worthy".
Sure, you may be reading this thinking that I'm just having a moment and complaining about how our modern world is evolving but I embrace change...Hell, I'm in the fashion industry and we love change!
I think this is truly an exciting time we are living in. Being born in the later decades of the 20th Century (Let's leave it there), I have been fortunate to experience the close of one world and the beginning and evolution of another. Change is great and exciting, but we need to keep things in check. We need to call out the truth as we see it, no matter how ugly it is.
Like I said before, you cannot make something prettier unless you know how ugly it is.
Let us all do humanity a favour by cleaning your house of the lies and deceptions.
The poltergeists on your screens are not real. They may make some noise and move a few things but the "realness" of life must prevail.
Reality is the ultimate truth from which we can learn to be better people by loving ourselves and others.