Finding my identity has been taking up a good portion of my life recently. Who am I? How do I define who I am? Am I more of a journalist than I am an academic, or should my status of academic play any role in the world that I am part of?
The truth of the matter is that I classify myself in the following order -- as I would introduce myself:
"Hi, I'm Zack. I'm a journalist, broadcaster and a criminologist".
But why in that particular order? Does it hold any particular significance in what is said and in which order? It does, and for a crucial sociological reason needed to explore why we have as many Facebook friends and Twitter followers as we have, and wish to have.
(Image via Flickr)
We are all driven my social status. We all want and strive to be above the person that we are engaging with; whether we openly admit it or we hide it through personality factions -- such as anger, coyness, shyness or through any other human emotion we can express.
It's a personal admission, for which I suspect is not only far more widespread than first thought, which is not limited to the Generation Y -- but perhaps a feature going back to pre-modern times.
Whether this exists as an already pre-defined and set-in-stone social theory, I have not explored. It has been something milling around in the back of my head for the past few months, and something I want to explore in given time.
It is one of, if not the sole reason why gentlemen who hold out their hand horizontally -- with their palms facing the ground -- in a gesture of shaking another person's hand. You extend your hand and you place it in theirs, knowing full well theirs is on top.
You may feel uncomfortable -- but that is a psychological "I am better than you" ploy.
We look at our Facebook friends list and become envious that others have more constant wall posts, or more friends. We become jealous that others are communicating further and faster than others.
We become angry that others have more followers, and crave the higher social gathering of others. It is a flaw that we all seem to have -- but one could only consider it a flaw if it has a negative effect on our wider social being.
Social class is inherited on the most part from parents and acts in a horizontal way. In the social media world, its different -- and acts solely vertically, whereby we strive to achieve greater friends, more connections and therefore a higher status of being.
Democracy doesn't account for social status. We cannot democratically elect ourselves into a different status than others. It can only be earned.
And I find it odd that we can move horizontally through social status, but find it difficult to move vertically.
The vertical types are those who have something to share -- something inherently new, something defining and frankly different -- away from the normalities of everyday life.
We inherit medical conditions and hereditary diseases which, though with their negative connotations and effects within our smaller familial social circles, can have a positive effect throughout our wider social circles.
Social status is inherently sought by the greater portion of society -- if not everyone. We all wish we possess these skills, these functions, these features of others for which aim to at least share, if not to surpass.
Or maybe this is the rambling thought process of someone who was drunk last night and came up with a seemingly "brilliant idea". I'm not too sure.