A few weeks back, I went to a rock festival. It was a great experience! A few bands that I knew and like. Quite a few more that I’d never heard of but really enjoyed getting to know them. The crowd was extremely energetic despite the rainy weather. Mosh pits and crowd surfing were happening continuously through most of the acts. Although moshing can be “aggressive” and lead to injury. There’s usually not much malice behind it. Equally so, crowd surfing is not meant to be dangerous. People riding on top of the crowd is supposed to be fun but it is truly putting your safety into the hands of strangers. There are no guarantees that they won’t drop you, intentionally or otherwise. Yet this seems to be the way that many people are traveling through the world nowadays.
Of course, I’m not speaking 100% literally. The point behind the comment is the way that we exist digitally. Many people are putting their very real self-esteem and self-image into the hands of “virtual” strangers. Most of the time, they are actual strangers. The virtual is there for emphasis on the not completely real world that we exist online. These people almost never truly touch us but they impact many people through their likes, comments and shares. As social beings, we thrive on the acceptance of the tribe and want to be recognized. The problem comes from the disconnection. Despite being connected in some sense of the word, a large portion of the people who are “holding” us up will never know us in the traditional sense of the word. At least the people at the concert feel the weight and see the aftermath of someone who is dropped. The people online are much less invested. Anything or nothing can change the connection there.
So beware of crowd surfing in the virtual world. The likes, shares and comments should not be the things that keep you floating through the day. At best they should be icing to a cake that is already filled with the flavor of things of substance. There’s plenty to be gained from the interconnectivity that we have today. Unfortunately, a true sense of self is probably not going to be found there without some dangers attached. Let the people who truly know you carry you through the day, especially the one that you spend every second with (hint: it’s YOU!).