Status Games, Social Media, and Our Modern Addiction

Here are my credentials,
Situated right below my name in the email I sent you.
Go ahead and put me on a scale,
And tell me how worthy I am.
Am I worthy enough to earn your respect and a fragment of your attention? Am I a gold or a bronze?
Your attention is my addiction,
I will never confess of course.
That’s not how modern society works.
We do it discreetly, artfully, slyly.
If my email signature isn’t enough,
Please hop onto my social media page and tell me how worthy I am. I curated the content just for you:
My vacation spots and flawless skin,
My top-scoring kids and loving partner,
The body I mercilessly disciplined into shape,
The youth I am holding onto even if it costs the life of another human, For your admiration.
Just for you and the gaze of the ex-lovers—
Look what you missed out on, suckers.
But I say, “It’s to inspire you,”
To simply keep you updated.
I say my body, His Temple.
But it’s really for me.
My sense of self-worth solely subsists on the “likes” you shower me, The comments you leave me.
I will never confess of course.
Your attention is my addiction.
Likes, more likes,
Confidence, more confidence,
Up, up, up.
Then one negative comment,
One comparison,
It all comes tumbling down,
Hard and fast.
The void in me craving for more,
Looking for more content to share,
Perhaps something outrageous,
To up my status in the eyes of others.
That sure will grant me more views and secure my sense of worth. But the void is still lurking,
Seeming more insatiable than ever before.
Come midnight, I am feeling weary,
Not so much from my day job—
No.
But from the endless pings and notifications
That remind me to check the value you accord me.
From riding the status roller coaster,
From feeling high and low,
Worthy and utterly irrelevant in a span of 50 seconds.
Your attention, my addiction.

Written by: : Feven Seifu

Feven Seifu is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. If you have any writing ideas or topics you would like her to address, please feel free to contact her at fseifu@umn.edu

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *