Let’s start with a disclaimer so we can get the obvious out of the way. In order to change your reality you don’t need to pop acid, dive headfirst into a pool of alcohol or arrange for that quick trip to Amsterdam’s “coffee shops” you’ve got on your bucket list. Reality can be changed by changing our perception of it. As Neo finds out in the seminal 1999 sci-fi hit The Matrix, the reality we perceive does not exist outside the construct of the self:
No one dares say it but the fear that our brain is slowing down, that we miss things we never used to, that age and time are finally catching up is something we all worry about. We can stand, perhaps not being as fresh-faced or as fast to catch a ball or as energetic in the morning as we used to be. These are things that are inevitable, we know. But to think that we may be no longer as razor-sharp in our thoughts as we were in the past and not know it, is terrifying.
Nothing can exist if we cannot imagine it. More people know the full life history of Harry Potter, the “boy who lived” than that of Alexander Graham Bell. Yet one is fictional while the other is the inventor of the telephone. What makes the former as ‘real’ as the latter is the fact that we can all agree on the knowledge we have of him, the attributes that make him into a person and the things he accomplished.
We’ve now had enough data on social media engagement and its effects to know A. that it is desirable to the degree that it has become the Holy Grail of social media activity and B. That it is maturing as an activity which means that despite what technology is or is not allowing us to do what ultimately drives it are the same basic principles that drive human behavior.