Mention Deficit Disorder

It’s nice to be mentioned – at least in a positive way.

Granted, some of us are more easily prone to enjoy flattery and attention than others. A lot depends on childhood experiences, genetics, personality.

Today’s media make it easier than ever to publicly mention someone and have them receive it – instantly.

Twitter epitomizes this: it has brought forth the mention-economy. People love to be Retweeted and Replied to. At least a substantial majority do.

This mention-economics can be a good thing: it can enable new connections, enhance existing social ties and produce a sense of ambient intimacy.

But what happens when the mentions become habit-forming?

What happens if the mentions stop – or if the mentions aren’t enough?

What happens when people feel as though they aren’t getting the mentions they want?

What happens when they reach a mention-deficit?

Do they develop a strange condition? A Mention Deficit Disorder?

I don’t know – it’s kind of a silly way to put things. But I suspect this Web stuff – to some degree – can create what I’ve called Inadvertent Narcissism.

Perhaps what we’re entering isn’t so much an Attention Economy. Perhaps what we’re entering is more of an Attention MEconomy. An economy that has to constantly seek out new ways of engaging and mentioning.

The problem, though, is that people can handle so much stimulation – overstimulate the senses and snap!…the system crashes.

That’s what happens with Attention Deficit Disorder (supposedly) – overstimulate the hyperactive brain and paradoxically calm it down.

Now that many corporations are waking up to social media, they will now realize what they’ve signed up for: finding ways of treating Mention Deficit Disorder without shutting down the attention economy.



Suicide of the Social Media Self

Who are you?

What is your self? At least: what do you consider to be your self?

Certainly your feelings, experiences, moods, thoughts, memories…they’re all vital and inter-acting elements of you.

But what about your tweets? What about your instant messages and all the other electronic extensions of whatever is you?

As the connection media we use become increasingly embedded in our daily lives, what happens to the self? How is it changed?

We are all having more ‘public’ lives like never before. It’s becoming, more and more, a default mode of our existence. Having a ‘private’ life is becoming more difficult – because even if you don’t have much presence online, others who know you do and they may be sharing bits of you in their networks.

So what happens when some people no longer wish to ‘live’ online and just want to go about their lives without connection via the Web?

What if some people decide life in social media just isn’t worth ‘living’?

For purposes of this post, let’s only think about people who aren’t suicidal in the traditional sense. They aren’t clinically depressed nor inherently unhappy with their lives per se. They simply get despondent concerning their “social media life”.

It’s an interesting question – one which I think we’ll see discussed more often in the near future.

If someone committed this kind of “suicide of the social media self”, what effect would it have on them? Would they be happier? Would it even be practical or possible?

Another way to think of this: as we move from the IRL life (or AFK life – away from keyboard) to the social media life, do we give up something of our selves?

If the cyber world is just as real as our “real” life, it stands to reason that suicide would have a social media analogue.

Might there be some kind of death taking place in our selves as we become increasingly enmeshed in these ever-evolving technologies? Could the act of moving to the social media life be a kind of inadvertent suicide of the AFK life – at least in some cases?

Might people who delete their social media presences have a longing to get back to their previous lives which they feel social media has hurt in some way?

I don’t know. These are just questions.

What about you?

Would you delete your Twitter account? Facebook? Your blog? Stop instant messaging? How much could you turn off? What would you leave on and why?

Would you die if you committed “suicide of the social media self”?

Or would you find something you left behind in your other life –¬†Something you find harder to get as your self, and all the other selves around you, enter the social media life?


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline