Social Classes, Social Climbing, and Social Networks
To dream of stepping into the fancy-schmancy world is one crass attitude if you do not really belong to that crowd, and to push yourself to something that does not fit and suit you is nothing but pure stupidity. That is harsh, right?
But that is reality. This world is divided into classes, ranks, sub-classes and sub-divisions.
Rich and poor, blue collars and white collars, erudite and illiterate, famous and mediocre. Hollywood celebrities mingle only with fellow celebrities, rock stars date only models, and models linger only with their wealthy executive managers, whereas ordinary people satisfy themselves with watching these upper class people on TV as if they are humans created from the genes of the higher order—unreachable, untouchable. That actually was the reality, a reality I could not accept then. During my college days, I couldn’t understand why my classmates drove Lamborghini and BMWs while I couldn’t even afford to drive a Fiat or a handed-down Toyota. Perhaps it’s just plain social classes, I thought.
Good thing those days are over. I can’t say that it’s been totally eradicated since divisions still exist and social classes remain as social symbols to set one apart from the other but at least our days of being overly fascinated with what we call now fancy-schmancy things are done. Perhaps we can thank Facebook and Twitter, or to be fair, the first widely recognized social networking site that pioneered the popularity of this platform, Friendster. Today, exchanging thoughts and ideas with your favorite superstars is easier than cooking an incomprehensibly labeled Japanese instant noodle soup. Catching your favorite band’s latest gig is faster than preparing decent pasta. And joining a political movement led by a famous activist or senator doesn’t require you to draw blood and learn the basics of Marx and Lenin’s teachings. These are now possible with a fine Internet connection, a functional computer, and a basic knowledge of mouse and keyboard’s function.
These days, celebrities are just figures of entertainment. Gone are the days of seeing Elvis, James Dean, Monroe, Lennon, Coltrane, and Ali walking on the streets on an ordinary day is like a divine intervention or a magical phenomenon. Social media sites abridge the distance between social classes, yet on the other hand batter and bruise the realities we old people once enjoyed and considered as spectacles. Indeed, this is the decade when Bono’s comments and Obama’s presidential speeches are just ordinary phrases that can be uttered and scattered on the realms of social network sites, for everyone can just easily copy-paste it on their walls and disseminate them as if these are just run on the mill axiom of a regular American. In fact, not even my daughter finds talking with her favorite pop stars hard, for she has experienced chatting with Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez a thousand times.
We can say these days are better than our times; or at least for me, it is. When I asked my little girl about her “divine” encounter with her pop start icons, she answered me without paying a glance or even a slight movement of shoulders, “A walk in the park, Daddy. Duh! Haven’t you heard of the Internet?” That day I started sitting with my daughter to learn the basics of computer and the Internet. And after that, everything is history. I started my own online business, a jazz guitar reselling business that allowed me to befriend American and British music industry’s finest guitarists.
Looking back, dreaming of being with rock and pop stars, celebrities and famous erudite icons was nothing but a pure act of silly dreaming, and forcing yourself to their world was one utter display of social climbing. Yet today, these acts are now irrevocable part of life. Everyone uses Facebook, almost half of the population has Twitter and Google+, some have blogs and personal websites, and most are dependent on the Internet. And this solidifies the truth that silly dreaming and social climbing these days aren’t bad at all.