by Jared C. Wilson
Perhaps the shift began when children stopped saying they wanted to be doctors, firemen, and teachers when they grow up and started saying actors, singers, and sports stars. Maybe it began with the manufactured reality of reality TV. Maybe it began when we stopped “going onto the internet” and the internet became the water we swim in. Maybe it began when, out of a need to be viral, every stay-at-home-mom turned her sassy-rants into YouTube shows and every upper-middle-class suburban family turned their life into a reality TV program. I don’t know when it began, but at some point we stopped living like persons and started living like personas.
And the persona has taken over.
The persona allows us to say and do whatever it is our desired audience desires, whatever it takes in fact to maintain the persona and—fingers crossed—turn the persona into a brand. Meanwhile, the person shrinks, and his or her soul along with it.
A couple of times in the last few years I’ve been told “You’re just like you are on Twitter” by people who seem surprised. I’m surprised that they’re surprised. But it’s not exactly true. I’m more extroverted on social media, though I’ve learned to say less about more things, and I don’t usually initiate conversations with people I don’t know. I’ve also been told that I am more ________ than I am online, or less __________ than I am online, suggesting that there is a measuring going on between the real me and the online me and the two me’s don’t exactly look the same. I have thought a lot about that.
Just the fact we think this way is telling. We expect people to be performing. Because a whole lot of us are.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition