Hey ev­ery­one: look at me!

So­cial me­dia brought the mon­ster out in Fiona Bar­ber, but she’s too busy rev­el­ling in shame­less self pro­mo­tion to care.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Viewpoint -

Face­book made me do it. A few years ago when friends posted their kids’ NCEA re­sults, up went my young Princess’ achieve­ments too. Worse than that, I upped the ante, boast­ing an “Ex­cel­lence”.

Shame­less, pa­thetic be­hav­iour and straight af­ter I’d done it, I felt ashamed. It was not some­thing I’d have vol­un­teered to friends, so why did I sud­denly think it was OK to post it? Where had it come from?

It was hatched in a place that some­times feels more bizarre than North Korea, the West­boro Bap­tist Church and Trump Tow­ers com­bined. It’s a vast, law­less land where the last ves­tiges of mod­esty, hu­mil­ity and self-cen­sor­ing have been aban­doned – a bit like truth and river pro­tec­tions in 2017 New Zealand.

Don’t get me wrong, so­cial me­dia has many, many pluses. Where else in the world can you get a de­served pat on the back for clean­ing the oven? Where else can you mine such a rich seam of par­ody star­ring that great orange-crested booby perched in the White House? And who hasn’t been saved by Face­book’s birth­day re­minders?

But the scrupu­lously cu­rated worlds and brazen self-con­grat­u­la­tion are enough to make you reach for the anti-nau­sea meds. And that’s just posts from the mid­dle-aged. (I do won­der if the free­dom to shed the po­lite­ness and brag is like heroin cours­ing through we Boomers’ and X-ers’ veins.)

In­stead of re­main­ing in my de­fault sta­tus of old cur­mud­geon, how­ever, I’ve de­cided to take plea­sure in the vac­u­ous, self-ag­gran­dis­ing delights avail­able on so­cial me­dia. My cup run­neth over.

I think my faves are the self­ies. De­spite the words “Fab­u­lous view of the beach”, does that man with abs al­most fill­ing the frame re­ally want us to look at the wafer-thin slice of rip­pling azure ocean be­hind him? Me­thinks not. A more truth­ful cap­tion might read: “Me en­joy­ing my rip­ples and by crikey, so should you.” OK, I made that up, but you know what I mean.

A few years ago the naughty Princess sneak­ily logged into my Face­book ac­count and sent a friend re­quest to a well-known so­cialite who ac­cepted, de­spite not know­ing me from a bar of soap. Since I turned over my new plea­sure-fromSM (that’s so­cial me­dia, not some­thing else) leaf, I look for­ward to their posts. They are a les­son in self-be­lief, self-es­teem and self-self. (A bonus: if I’m re­ally strug­gling to sleep, they have a ter­rific so­porific ef­fect.)

My friend The Bra Whis­perer says the meek do not in­herit the Earth. It is the shame­less. She’s right, of course, but life is short. You have to take joy where you find it.

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