Social networks, these other black holes

The news sometimes highlights fun shortcuts. Topics that seem unrelated to each other but that refer to profound changes in our society. Topics that sometimes inspire greatness sometimes refer to our selfish temptations boosted by new technologies. This is also the case with some of the highlights of recent weeks, where for the first time there has been a representation of the supermassive black hole called “Sagittarius A *”, alongside the story on Instagram about the American singer Britney Spears’ abortion. Either way, this news throws us into an abyss of confusion.

Sagittarius A

Only on May 12 was the release of the first photo of the supermassive black hole, “Sagittarius A *, in the heart of the Milky Way. According to the hundreds of astronomers and scientists who collaborated to create this reconstructed image resembling a hob, which we forgot to turn off, the mass of this black hole is such that its own weight sucks everything that passes by, including time and light.Dizziness!

In addition to the scientific significance of this revelation – it took 4 years of calculations and simulations to arrive at this visual representation of this black hole – it once again validates Einstein’s general theory of relativity and confirms that gravity is the manifestation of the curvature of space. and time.

By forcing the line, we can say that it is the same with social networks.

Catch the masses

The latter have almost the same properties as a black hole: not only do they attract matter, in this case the lives of billions of inhabitants, but they also have the ability to extend space-time (in France we spend an average of 1 hour and 46 minutes a day on social networks, wherever we are). Without evil spirit, we could also add that social networks, like black holes, emit very little light … Like the “black hole” in our digital galaxy, they give a certain dizziness as they are able to fascinate and retain billions of people: Facebook: 2.9 billion users, YouTube: 2.5 billion, WhatsApp: 2 billion, Instagram: 1.5 billion, Tik Tok: 1 billion, Twitter: nearly 500 million subscribers (and nonetheless rated at 42 billion by Elon Musk).

Their power attached to the number of their subscribers has gradually enabled these networks to dictate their rules. Whether it’s the way to express oneself (usually short, sentimental, spectacular, scornful, loudly exclaimed remarks …) or to tell oneself by preferring to cultivate the short, the sensational, the emotional or the compassionate thanks to this universal ” like “barely, social networks have become a kind of” new universal law of gravity “, which is imposed on everyone, and around which our ways of thinking, seeing or representing events.

Democracy

Barely three days after the unveiling of Sagittarius A *, the announcement of singer Britney Spears was thus the subject of a mini big bang, when she to the address of her 41 million Instagram subscribers chose to use this social network to show her grief after his abortion. Her post received nearly 2 million hearts and 80,000 comments of pure empathy almost immediately. This staging of himself on Instagram, including in these moments of grief, was also chosen by many other “people”, such as Meghan Markle or Cristiano Ronaldo (400 million subscribers on Instagram) to announce to their followers the premature death of their respective babies . Instagram has thus become a place of intimate expression, a symbol of this “democracy”, where highlighting one’s own vulnerabilities is a strategy like any other to create ever more engagement and thus retain the attention of millions of people. subscribers attracted to the gravitational field of the lives of these personalities.

Live on social media sleeping

It sometimes happens that social networks push to the absurd. It will rightly be objected that the latter does not ask anyone for anything and that anyone with a conscience is free to do as they please, including staging their own lives. It is true. But what do you think of these admittedly extreme cases where, in order to stand out in a galaxy of billions of other stars seeking to shine, one agrees to pamper oneself in front of this colorless mirror on one’s screen because of ” to create views ”or just to create a buzz? All the performances should not be classified on the same scale of stupidity as this Malaysian who agreed to be filmed” live “on Facebook while sleeping in front of 60,000 spectators.

Besides the fact that one can wonder who in this case is most to be sorry for (the sleeping man or those who saw him for several hours …), it is still a fact that there are many examples of internet users being fascinated and attracted to a force we can not resist and becoming a kind of “digital zombie”. No doubt social networks resemble those galactic black holes from which it is very difficult, if not impossible, to escape. Everything in this universe is unfolded, modified and questioned: truth, self-image, self-confidence, intelligence …

Albert Einstein is credited with this word:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. But as far as the universe is concerned, I have not yet attained absolute certainty.”

There is a great temptation to take this joke literally, either to comment on the infinite dimension of this supermassive black hole or, as desired, to emphasize the abysmal emptiness that social networks often show …