Facebook is an unusual beast. Seemingly, it has the lot: the cure for boredom; procrastination; unusually candid insights into people’s overly public life; some boobs a couple of interesting articles; a photo of some food; a pungent, absurd, dumb and ultimately useless post about someone’s political viewpoints; the obligatory community-directed #fitspiration update; and a great click-baity article that is once again puffed as the “most profound, honest and incredible piece we have ever published”.
We type both our username and our password to log in, believing that all of our personal information doesn’t expand further than our own knowledge, and in attempting to reinforce to us that our privacy is of the utmost importance to them, they ask us for our phone numbers so they can “modernise our safekeeping” (send you advertising messages about anything from erectile dysfunction to vegetables).
To my surprise, I log in, and instead of seeing an overly confronting status update, I see a photo of a girl that I know, or used to know. To be honest, she is vaguely attractive, though I don’t particularly like her (even though I once told her that I did). When she was younger, she wanted “so much to leave home” and complained constantly about how she sought to “travel the world to just get lost”, but then surprisingly, didn’t enjoy her trip. She is now back at home, whining about the same shit all over again. The photo she posted was of that very voyage, where she was settled upon a rooftop in an obscure part of wherever she was with the attached hashtag #wanderlust.
The word “wanderlust” may very well be the most overused and conceited word on the internet (apart from #fitspiration of course, although even then, it’s close). Wanderlust is of German origin, and when used in its appropriate context, can have inordinate philosophical meaning, but that’s hardly the case for every other person on the internet hashtagging their photos with it because they don’t have the aptitude to expand on it. (It’s quite similar to the political budgeting views flooding Facebook at the moment: people exercise their right to speak freely about their opinions but know too little background information be able to back up their argument when someone comes along and disagrees with them). Chances are that if you use the word wanderlust in your pre-travel images (especially as a #hashtag) to pronounce your undying will to trot the globe, you will be that ostentatious pain-in-the-ass who wonders why there are so many “‘foreigners” overseas and gets absurdly upset that there is no one around you who speaks English, forcing you to resort to Facebook to vent all your absolutely obnoxious and ignorant frustrations.
Hashtags, while timesavers, are one of the most bizarre parts of the internet. They are quite literally the eccentricities of a moron. Hashtags are now people’s go-to symbol for emphasis, for emotion, and sadly, for information. First it was just a media fascination, now hashtags are a Facebook tool, a publicising vehicle and a cultural phenomenon that even people who don’t use Facebook are subjected to (if you hashtag words via your mouth, then I’m sure you’re the kind of person they talk about on the news when they say that society’s intelligence is declining).
Not so long ago, there was a time where the methods of communication encompassed using words in the direction of other human beings (in person), and using full, eloquent sentences to articulate them. It was honest, and didn’t require typed, entitled, “keyboard warrior” responses if the idea was unheard of – rather, just a good old fashioned middle finger. The internet then put forth the concept of the hashtag, which just gave the everyday average bottom-feeder the liberty to become ever lazier by not needing to enunciate themselves anymore and instead being able to amalgamate all their thoughts, chuck a # in front of it, use the word “feels” and eliminate any sort of substance from what they are saying.
Hank Moody (David Duchovny) from the TV series Californication once said: “People seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratise us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24-hour-a-day access to kiddie porn. People… they don’t write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text; no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.”
I find this diatribe to be a great source of entertainment, and sadly accurate.