By: Twitter Buttons

Monday, 3 August 2009

TREND ALERT: The new therapy

Forget about shaving one side of your head, forget wearing leggins with short tops and you can definitely forget about getting a Blackberry on your new upgrade. Apparantly, to be on trend and with the 'in-crowd', you need to sign up to a social networking or video streaming site, sit down in front of your laptop....and then have an emotional breakdown. Webcam is optional. It's as easy as that!

Over the last few weeks, we've seen the explosion of this new trend. Certain celebrities have been turning to their computers instead of their psychiatrists and putting their emotional oubursts out there for all to see. First there was Soulja Boy feeling pressures of the music industry and 'expressing' himself via Twitter. Then Bow Wow got a little 'attention-envy' and wrote a suicidal-note-like message, again using Twitter. Next was another member of the young Hollywood crew, Teyana Taylor, who when reading both love and hate messages from the public, couldn't contain her "tears of joy". Most recently, American basketball player Stephon Marbury broke down while listening to a Kirk Franklin track - all with his webcam switched on.

All the examples above signal some deeper emotional issues that need to be dealt with, but what happened to writing in a diary, talking to your best friend or ahem...seeking professional help? Now the obvious explanation for all of this is that these are cries for attention. People in the limelight tend to have that performance gene, they thrive putting on a show and receiving that round of applause from the crowd before they take a bow. Perhaps, after a while this recognition from the public becomes more like personal validation and they start to constantly seek it in order to feel good about themselves, relying on it even to maintain their self-esteem.

But before we all jump on their backs yelling "low self esteem, fame-hungry, losers", are they that much different from all the 'regular' people on Twitter, Facebook and bloggers? Ok, while not all shed tears, I have personally witnessed Facebook status posts reading "I've had enough", "Why is this happening" and "I can't take this anymore". On a couple of occasions I've been close to replying with the number for the Samaritans! Twitter, the same, people post up their thoughts, opinions and feelings for other people to read. Do tweeters feel validation when somone replies to their post, agrees with them, retweets what they said or even follows them? They probably do. So does this also fit in the 'cry for attention' box? And bloggers - I know I'm talking about myself when I say this but is this blogging world a place where we become celebrities ourselves? Ok, no-one is going to be showing their house in the pages of OK magazine anytime soon, but as you gain more followers, people begin to recognise your name and blogs start to be taken more seriously a pieces of journalism, is it JUST about writing about the topics you are interested in? Isn't it also about the public recognition and acceptance? If it was just about the writing, then we'd all be blogging anonymously right!?!

Let's put it down to self-expression - its a way to air your views and speak your mind. However, where do we draw the line? At what point do we go "hey, I'm gonna keep this private, its way too personal to put out there". Is talking going to become redundant as we all become a nation of status posts? It's just something I've been thinking about. Social networks and other online broadcasting tools seem to be blurring the lines of friendships, privacy and what should and shouldn't be said or shown. So with a new outlet for 'self-expression', whether its micro-blogging via Twitter, vlogging via YouTube or just setting up your own page, who needs a therapist?

Would love to hear your thoughts: tweeters, Facebookers, Bloggers, why do it and where do you draw the line?


  1. Man I am so old, I was not aware of a lot of these incidents. I am all for airing your views and getting things off your chest but there is a time and place for everything. I think these celebs are taking this form of free promotion to a new level.

  2. I like this post. I think there is a line; there has to be a line drawn. With celebs, its probably a lot harder to draw that line for yourself, I mean look at Katie Price for instance. She doesnt seem to know when to keep her personal business personal.
    As for blogging, I totally hear what your sayin, but even with that, and facebook, there is still only so much that needs to be expressed openly, the rest is for safe keeps. Can you imagine if your partner read something that was on your blog, something really important, before you told them yourself?
    The art of talking seems to be going downhill...we're all typing our little lives away!

  3. Brilliant post. You blog is solid. I like it!

  4. I find I generally tell it all and say it all on all types of communication, except personal failure and feelings of inadequacy I save for my best friend (my best listening ear). Anger is fair game to be posted anywhere. Truthfully with my blog, I feel like I should be entertaining (especially since it's mostly about fashion). So no one wants to hear my whining about feeling sad or how tough life is. I think it should be a pick me up for the reader or at least a place where we can share common thought. Twitter I use for humour mostly. Short thoughts which sound nice in my head but I know I'll forget to write down later, go to twitter. I had no idea about all these very public celebrity break downs either! Sign of the tough times I suppose.

  5. @Ondo Lady- I agree, with digital and online advancements, most artists see online as a way of getting close to and building their fanbase - but like you said, I think they're should be a line you do not cross.

    @Miss Fab Black - I know what you mean, now instead of taking someone's number, I ask if they are on Facebook or Twitter. I find it easier to keep in touch that way with the many people I meet, but for close friend, there's nothing better than a phone call. So like you said, we have to be clear and have a definitive line of what we should tell the our close friends vs the whole world. In the case of Katie Price, it is clear to see how doing the latter can backfire.

    @Deborah - aw thanks for the visiting and taking the time to comment. Come back soon!

    @etoilee8 - I like your breakdown, you use different channels for different modes, moods and types of communication. I can relate to that and I think these celebrities need to take a leaf out of your book!



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