Why Teens May Need a Circus Clown Face as the Right Social Media Symbol?
The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not. Albert Schweitzer
“Imagine, you are just 14 years old, yet your brain is wired for positive feedback which gets a dopamine spike with every click, every buzz, to keep the story fresh and wanting more. How could it be any other way? Your habit of posing and posting becomes like an itch, somebody else’s itch, but you got to keep scratching it, painful as it may be at times, because sometimes you get the word LIKE.” excerpt: Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand
Do you believe that symbols have the power to communicate? What can you say when words are inadequate to represent complex meanings especially in today’s situations or outcomes caused by epic forces that are hard to describe if limited by words and given or implied interpretations?
Would you agree that one of the strongest social forces overwhelming much of our culture is social mass media?
So, what would a symbol of social media look like? Why would a single reference be helpful to explain our society, especially for teens?
Connecting Abstractions and Symbols
Symbols are an interesting powerful medium that can be used to express all facets of human endeavor. They can message important meanings to evoke profound emotions and memories. Our complex reality can be expressed and objectified into a simpler way for more holistic parameters.
Our first encounter and learning about the world of objects are through our senses like seeing, hearing, touching, etc. Then more concrete experiences and often specific words can manifest more abstract meanings that, over time, can be integrated to form a concept or show the value of a lesson or moral.
For example, the word love may undergo many transformations through time before the abstraction is made real … “ I love you” and a heart symbol signifies that.
So, why consider reality in abstract terms when there are no physical referents?
How can a teenager learn about abstract qualities like independence, freedom, trust, loyalty, morals and power of choice if they first don’t run through a gamut of experiences to qualify as a higher meaning with the value of reason?
For example, they can’t pick up a bag filled with responsibility; they must learn to live through its implications or lack of. I can’t pick up a choice like a carrot in my hand and tell them to find their own carrots. But I can draw a sign, like a symbol, that represents the full context of “choice” and the difference of a “smart choice” if based on past, future and present factors.
How can I show moral outrage over cultural disruptions or the extreme social disadvantages played against teens, especially teen girls. I could write a lecture or I can draw a simple diagram with identified key words and symbols.
Why A Social Media Symbol is Required
The purpose of using a symbol is to show several deeper layers of thought representing more details, actions, and consequences beyond its first appearance or literal meaning.
When you search online for a “social media symbol” the internet explodes with icons (pictorial representation) logos, profiles, and brands, ad nauseam. You won’t find a single symbol to represent social media with such epic proportions that influence all levels of our society ... only bits and pieces that are difficult to assimilate as personal effects.
The problem, of course, is how do you design such a composite picture? Two examples that may suffice:
- This image / symbol shows the obligatory perfection status of social media which is not attainable by most people but offers a field of choices.
2. This image / symbol is a hand drawn Giant Clown Face with social media features. It becomes more conscious if a young adolescent brain is in its vibration mode.
Which image / symbol do you think shows a deeper layer of meaning and actions beyond its literal meaning for teenagers? What image shows the saturation of mass media versus a young, rash and brash adolescent brain?
The good news is that once a social media symbol can be established; for example, a Giant Clown Face, it can be used again and again as a holistic reference or extension into other situations like self-identity, what you buy or look like, your choices, your friends, how you spend your time, and how you deal with problems and media control.
What do you visualize?
I believe that an image can be worth a thousand words, and in these critical times, society can use all the words of symbolic empowerment that it can find.
A challenge for you is to design your own symbol of what social media means to you. This is an especially important exercise for teenagers to find their axis of location on this massive force field.
Please send me pictures of your creations. I think they would make an excellent composite of understanding what social media means at a personal level which may even help to lead to redesigning social media itself!
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“It (the adolescent brain)is getting fatter and heavier feeding on this data, spiking with bolder colors; strangely, both shrinking in some parts and expanding in other parts; strangely, more curious rather than frightened of this mayhem. How could it express what is happening; trying to be bold, positive, take a risk to prove a point, stupid choice, smart idea, propaganda or not, true or false, fact or opinion, what really matters? Who judges this strange mixed-up brew of what is normal or popular or false anymore? Mixed up ignorance and confidence is a dangerous mixture.
It is shaking and I can barely hear its cries, “Leave me alone. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault.” Excerpt: Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand: Struggles, Regrets and Survival in Social Media with Superpower Tool