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Dear Youth: Pursue Anonymity On the eve of social media armageddon

Nate Zoller, Surfing, Dear Youth, Social Media
03.28.16 – TAGS: , , ,
Photo: Nate Zoller

The pursuit of anonymity is lost in my generation. I feel like Miki Dora when all the “working slobs” started to surf Malibu. Replace the slobs with digital opportunists forcing empty information down your throat via “push” notifications and here we are in 2016. I hate it. I used to be into it back in 2013 when it was raw, sans curated “galleries” and professional selfie takers. There were always the “look at me” Instagrammers and that’s cool because beautiful people should be stared at. But I wouldn’t have imagined the amount of seriousness that almost everyone I relate to treats their social media, including me.

I find myself staring at the tiny screen in my hand without blinking or thinking for minutes. I get to the point in my feed where I’ve seen the photo before and my thumb stops. I look up, it’s sunny and I’m at the beach. There are butts all around me, nice ones with small triangles attached. The kid on the soft board goes over the falls on a set wave. ‘I should have filmed that for Snapchat’ is the first thing that crosses my mind. But why do I think this way? I started on the old Nokia brick phone playing Snake in High School and here I am with an iPhone being gulled into pressing the push notifications button on Instagram. My world is now as much digital as it is physical. Without surfing my digital life might have overcome my natural life.

Surfing is what leads me down the path of least resistance. Get in the car, drive for hours until the crowds and cell reception are gone and don’t come back until the money runs out. On the fringe but in the now. All of the moments in life are enhanced without the phone world double-tapping you on the shoulder. A universe is being lived inside the screen without you but it’s not yours, it’s someone else’s. And that is what brings me to this brink of realization. With so much information to bounce my individuality off of where do I start and others end? Am I being influenced on such a deep level that it has become a part of my subconscious? I’m scared because I think the answer is yes.

But how do we avoid this and if we did avoid it how would life change? Would we have more pure thoughts? Would life become more profound? These questions come into my mind a lot and today when I woke up and scrolled my feed the lemmings were at it again, “Please turn on your notifications…blah blah” seemed like nobody knew why they were saying it but it was being said. Like ordering a new Merrick model because Dane has one. Nobody thinks they will surf like him but might as well give it a shot.

I resist notification suicide because my phone already barks at me enough. If I miss someone’s post so be it, there’s an algorithm out there that knows exactly what I want and that’s borderline fucked up. Think about it and then go surfing. —Nate Zoller

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