If your Facebook home page has been crowded with a stick figure meme dishing out passive aggressive advice, then you, like countless others found it distasteful or on the contrary ecstatic.Yes, I am talking about ‘Be Like Bill’- a meme that had taken over social media platforms. character. It has created countless spin offs, such as ‘Don’t be like Bill,’ or ‘Be like Kate’ and so forth. Social media has always been a place that glorifies our lives to our friends. The ‘Be like Bill’ meme was no different as it satisfied our need to let others know about our shortcomings and our failures. Created last year by programmer Eugeniu Croitoru and Debabrata Nath, it is a series of cartoons that show Bill engaging in various activities and abstaining from others. As the meme took off the ‘Be like Bill’ Facebook page began to attract over a million followers. However, the recent wave of popularly was a result of the meme generator now let you replace Bill’s name with your own and this resulted in your personal version of the meme. This was the perfect platform for our social media persona. It tends to feed the void within us that, we want to share with the world, what we do and do not do right. But as with most memes that go viral, social media users are quick to turn against what was hugely popular just a while ago. And just as swiftly as it rose to fame, its popularity diminished as quickly as well. The good news is that the demise of a viral meme like the ‘Be like Bill’ is only one step away from the next rapid ascent to glory. The only thing left is to brace ourselves until the next ‘Be like Bill’ meme blows over.
Many studies have been done on behavioural patterns in the context of social media. What we actually revel about ourselves is often more than we think. Using a prediction API (Application Program Interface) by the University of Cambridge, analysts were able to scour our Facebook likes and status updates to discover specific personality traits. The results consisted of habits like bragging which goes to show lack of self-esteem issues as well as as the constant sharing of children’s photos which highlight the competitive nature among parents. When status updates are mostly political, social or intellectual issues; these were linked to open mindedness, curiosity and creativity.
Sharing status in pictures with a big group of friends often reflected that they were as extraverted as the photographs indicated.
The ones who constantly update their personal drama with emojis were categorised as neurotic and overly anxious. They tend to use Facebook to get the attention and support they are missing from their offline friends.
When one’s updates are mostly about exercise, diets and so forth they were grouped as narcissistic.
Facebook speaks volumes about our personality and self-esteem. Studying human behaviour on social media gives us an idea about people’s personalities as well as how they view us. When you present yourself in a particular way, chances are that people may view you in a different way. Our behavior on social media reveals more than we might think. It’s not just what we post on Facebook that reveals information about our personalities, it’s also what we don’t post that can be quite telling.
In our 500 plus Facebook friends how many do we actually know or how many do we have a deep relationship with? With whom do we go out for coffee and feel no need to share with the rest of the world? Being with the person ‘in person’ is fulfilling enough, that the need for random others to stamp their ‘like’ approval button on a captured moment or a status update is irrelevant.
Yet the social media world we live in has made us densely connected than ever before.
However, new research is also showing that this connectivity is often leaving us lonelier than any generation that preceded us. Over the past thirty years, technology has delivered to us a world in which we are in contact every moment. Within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we also suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another in the real world than this current generation.
Often at parties, individuals are on their phones texting in the virtual world unaware of the people around them. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socialising, we have less and less actual society to live in.