For the past 15 years we've been hard at work posting, tweeting, and selfie-ing the perfect versions of ourselves. But by 2045 those ideal online avatars may become a reality.
Full disclosure that last definition isn't in the Oxford Dictionary but in 2016 it might as well be. I find myself falling in love with people solely based off of trivial things like the photos they put on Instagram. Oh and I'm not talking about half nudie pics, I'm talking about you standing in front of some faded Los Angeles graffiti muriel in your Ray-bans and high waisted acid wash jeans. Flipping off the camera giving me the distinct impression that you have way more attitude then your other good girl selfie photos suggest. Oooooh yeah thats the stuff. And don't even get me started on your clever political and social commentary you been tweetin'. Gurl my love for you is growing as I slide my thumb down your smooth milky white Twitter feed. Now send me a Snapchat, looking all cute with that dog ears/tongue filter.
- So this is life imitating art and vice versa...
It's only after a cold shower (and a reboot of my phone) that I realize I'm not falling in love with a person, I'm falling in love with the perception of one. This is where most people would turn an amazingly astute observation into one regarding our current generation's lack of empathy and other genuine human emotions, but the truth is that'd be too easy. My real concern is why the hell do I fall in love with these girls over this stupid shit. I could spend solid minutes (which is todays equivalent to hours) scrolling through a girls Instagram coming to the conclusion that she's nerdy but has a sense of humor based off the photos of her semi-ironic Hermonie Granger Halloween costume. Or that she's just "out there" enough by viewing her weird but charming collection of Tumblr GIFs where she removes the top layer of croissant and places that layer next to said croissant. Or the fact that she's cool as shit because her Facebook says she used to live in Oregon! (I have a thing for girls from Oregon. An Oregon fetish of sorts.)
Creating the ideal person in your mind is nothing new. People have been doing that forever. But thats what dating and other human interaction has always been for. You spend time with the person, get to know them, and decide if they suit you the way you'd hoped. The difference now is that you have to live up to the perception you've made for yourself while also painting the one you've made for that person. It's like perception inception! It's always been tough to be yourself but the control we've been given to mold what people see and think of us is actually what's making it more of a challenge. This used to be an often talked about and rare downside reserved only for most famous of celebrities, but in a time when everyone is getting Warhol's 15 minutes of fame its a conflict the average joe and joe-ness are experiencing. For some people though these online avatars and personas are human beings that take on a life and personality of their own. If you're ever bored and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (as if you're not already doing that now) give a quick search for the accounts Pleighboy Rudy and Thickcandy. Don't let their comically erotic names fool you, they're actually two of my good friends who started mock accounts for their uber ironic, nihilistic, irreverent alter egos. Rudy created the profile one day after viewing other mock Instagram accounts he found funny and, after receiving a pervy attempt at a compliment on her body in the comments section of her real account, "Thickcandy" followed. Over the next few months what started as a joke amongst a small group of friends quickly became a living breathing thing of its own. Pleighboy and Thick started posting very distinct pictures unlike those of their account creators. They began liking and commenting on other peoples posts. These people returned the favor by following them back. It's now gotten to the point where I get more likes from Pleighboy and Thick then I do from the actual human beings who run the accounts. The creepiest, and slightly fascinating, aspect of all this is that we don't even talk about it when we're together. It's almost as if these alter ego's are acting under their own volition.
Super genius inventor, futurist, and all around badass nerd Ray Kurezwiel (look him up) stated in a recent interview with Playboy that people already associate themselves with their online avatars. He makes predictions about a time in the very near future, like 2045 near future, where we'll live in a state of virtual reality as whatever we want people to perceive us as. If this sounds a little too Matrix-esque dystopia for you don't worry. The idea is there won't be any sinister agents in black suits regulating what you can and can't do. In fact it'll be the exact opposite, you'll be in full control of it all. Each and ever day we'll decide who and what we want to be; man, women, black, white, straight, gay, the possibilities will be endless. More importantly, whatever we decide to live as that day will always be the perfect model of it because we created it in our minds. It makes you think, are these online avatars and aesthetics we create for ourselves a desperate attempt to be or impress somebody or are they the prototype versions of an evolved and near perfect state we could be living as? It's a lot to think about and quite frankly the time it takes to think about it is getting in the way of me taking this selfie.