It took me about five seconds. Five seconds of this hateful American voiceover, the by-now-requisite twinkling instrumental version of a familiar pop song, to hate this Facebook advert. Five seconds to hatred.
I have nothing against Americans. I’ve even met some and very nice people they are too. But it strikes me as an enormous own-goal to have a voiceover in an American accent, which never fail to sound saccharine, insincere, smug, trite or all four when used in adverts.
What I find disheartening about this stuff is the idea that nothing in our life is meaningful unless it’s shared on Facebook. Unless it’s shared on this peer-review website where things are assessed, approved, validated and forgotten about within seconds. It’s like we’re all playing a global, ongoing game of one-upmanship – a constant state of virtual passive aggression waged against our friends. I’m not sure Facebook does connect us with our friends; I think, in a funny way, it makes us all enemies of one another.
And it makes enemies of ourselves. It’s like Marx’s theory of cultural alienation made into a kind of leisure pursuit. Are we really in control of our own lives, our own destinies if they have to be lived out in this digital goldfish bowl, conforming to the group mind’s expectations and approvals?
It is, perhaps, Instagram where the truest expression of man’s alienation from his fellow human beings is most evident – the pursuit of stuff, experiences, things and consumption overriding – but Facebook is where it took root.
The inevitable result of all this stuff is false consciousness – the way that we are controlled by the ruling classes through our culture. Or, if you prefer an example, the 2015 election of the Conservative Party. We idealised the internet and social media as a great expansion of our consciousness and inter-connectedness. Instead it’s driven us to individualism, self-gratification, pride, envy, covetousness, greed and vacuity. It’s made cunts of us.
Imagine our lives, loves, friendships, achievements and tragedies being mediated by Facebook – being constantly judged in relation to others; viewing our self-worth through the listless interactions of people from whom we’re increasingly estranged. If Hell is other people, Facebook is Lucifer’s very own portal.