In a recent interview with USA TODAY Steven Spielberg shared some thoughts about his upcoming film, Ready Player One. The bit that struck a cord with me was his thoughts on the relationship between the characters of Wade and Samantha in the film who first meet in the virtual world of the OASIS.
“You get to know their quirks, (but) you don’t know who the person really is until you meet them in the real world. So, there’s always that doubt: Are they telling the truth about themselves?”
I’ve read and seen a few cautionary tales recently about the role of social media in our lives. Let me just say I’m all for Facebook, it’s a great way to catch up with friends and family. I live in Los Angeles but I grew up in Texas and thanks to Facebook I was able to check in and receive updates on people in my hometown during Hurricane Harvey. Instagram! I look forward to checking in on feeds from some very funny people who are there for a good quip on current events and be inspired by the feeds of interior design blogs. Check out the film, Ingrid Goes West, to see a tale of Instagram obsession gone wrong.
However, it’s good to remember that people aren’t putting all of their lives on social media. Let’s face it, we’re mostly posting pics from fun events: conventions, concerts, friends at dinner, etc.
I read a great book last year; Hello, Sunshine about a popular YouTube Celebrity chef, who is outed as a fraud. Someone’s cooking that food but it isn’t her. It might seem like a simple story but it dives deep into the psyche of someone who is willing to represent a life online that isn’t hers. The term a “curated” version of life is used in the book. That stuck with me.
A curated version of my last few weeks would be fun pics from meals at great LA restaurants with my family, along with opening presents on a quiet winter morning. That happened but guess what else happened. My car wouldn’t start last week, then the tow truck driver couldn’t fit his truck into my apartment building garage. Not moments in life that I or anyone else would want to post on Instagram. Because I’m impatient in general I cut the driver off when he was explaining how he couldn’t get the truck inside. “We have to call another truck. Great, do that now.” That was me. Not something I’m proud off. After I calmed down I apologized to the driver for being snappy and we had a nice chat on the way to my trusted mechanic (a woman!).
This is to the heart of what Spielberg was talking about. My impatience isn’t a trait that can be put on Instagram and therefore what we as people put on social media is us, but it’s far from the whole picture.
Instagram celebs are there to sell a lifestyle. Whatever you gravitate towards they are also only going to be showing the most fun and entertaining parts of their lives.
In the case of Ready Player One, who people are in the OASIS are the parts of them that they’d like to be, if there were no real-life consequences. In the OASIS I’d be jumping up to dance and do karaoke (as I do in the real world) but I wouldn’t be impatient. And therefore, it wouldn’t be me.
Ready Player One is scheduled to premiere on March 30, 2018