MIDDLE EAST

The vanity of social media

If we draw ourself away from the current technological development for hours or days, we will realize how much time we waste in watching ridiculous videos and following up on silly matters. Poor products dominate the scene as the number of apps have increased. Vanity has been sponsored and packaged as a product that’s worthy of exporting and recycling, thus tempting consumers. This is what can be seen from the fact that many social media stars became writers or media figures. This is dangerous because they dominate the scene as figures who mentor our children.

Armies of vanity

Two decades ago, publishing an article or appearing on television was difficult. Amateurs needed to train and refine their talents and then walk a long and bitter path to venture into the field of publication and media. Social media made this much easier now. Some even laugh at prominent journalists and intellectuals because they are not familiar with technology and do not use modern apps like Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. This rising category is trying to destroy cultural and media achievements, considering they are “remnants of the past.” Armies of vanity are thus trying to eliminate some of the real and solid achievements, through social media.

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Amid the current wave of entertainment activities in Saudi Arabia, there are two major developments pertaining to the conflict between the real product and the fake one. The first one is the importance of no longer hosting social media stars and hiring them to act or lecture or narrate their success stories. The second one is to base work on the sophistication seen at poetry and musical events.

The latter must direct other entertainment events in the kingdom in order to cleanse reality after these “stars” dominated the arena amid the absence of critics, poets, authors and composers and after a bunch of ignorant men, who spread vanity as a comprehensive product worthy of appreciation and praise, took over several platforms.

Two decades ago, publishing an article or appearing on television was difficult. Amateurs needed to train and refine their talents and then walk a long and bitter path to venture the field of publication and media. Social media made this much easier now.

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

Societies which protected their aesthetic taste maintained their real products, such as art or music. When an opera in Riyadh opens – hopefully very soon – the events held there must meet the standards of other events across the world. If we do not do so, opera houses, theatres and others will be mere buildings void of meaning. They will lack a spirit that refines them and guards them. There are successful models of opera houses in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and other countries which we can benefit from.

Sweeping wave

There was a time when we feared that social media will affect crime rates. Now that there are security measures to address this in cooperation with the owner of these apps, we must protect ourselves from the repercussions of these destructive tools which waste our time, worry us and drag us all the way down to vanity.

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It’s a sweeping wave, like a tsunami which we can warn of but cannot stop. It’s a warning which wise men can make use of and it’s very important that we do. as without it societies will act like obedient herds that head towards existential demise. Some researchers, academics and reasonable men, in addition to fools, fall for this and walk down this spiral of vanity.

Commenting on social media, Italian contemporary writer Umberto Eco once told the Italian La Stampa daily: “Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. Then they were quickly silenced, but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s the invasion of the idiots.”

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.
 

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Last Update: Thursday, 4 January 2018 KSA 14:44 - GMT 11:44
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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