It’s often been said that once something is on the Internet, you’ll never be able to take it down no matter how hard you try. What does this mean for us as we move into the future? What do the posts and tweets that we make today say about us as people? What will we think of today’s photos and videos ten years down the road? Often times social media feels fleeting, but it’s very much forever.
So why tattoos you may ask?
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” So are tattoos. Every tattoo is a personal statement. They can be beautiful, intriguing, and tell you a lot of stories. In a sense, social media (and Internet activity in general) is akin to an electronic tattoo, isn’t it? And what if they tell the world as much about you just like any tattoo could?
In a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, Andy Warhol supposedly remarked that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” (Guinn and Perry 2005). So, what if Andy was wrong? Well, because of electronic tattoos, we can all be immortal, because these tattoos has a far longer lifespan than our bodies do. And if that’s true, let’s take a look at these four lessons.
Lesson 1 – Sisyphus
He did something horrible and was punished by rolling a rock ceaselessly to the top of a mountain, from where the rock could fall back of its own weight at any time (Camus and Heidenheimer 2007). Similarly, your electronic tattoos may also make you go through all the ups and downs and even harm your reputation online. So be careful about what you post.
Lesson 2 – Orpheus
Orpheus was a wonderful and charming singer. When he lost his beloved (Eurydice) Orpheus travelled to the underworld and used his music to soften the hearts of the gods of the underworld. They agreed to release Eurydice on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they are out of the underworld. Unfortunately, in his anxiety, he turned to look at her, lost her forever (Woodlief 2001). So what I am trying to say is, with all this big amount of data out there, it might be a good idea not to look back into the past.
Lesson 3 – Atalanta
Uninterested in marriage. If you could outrun her in a footrace, she would agree to marry you. However, if you lost, you died. There was one person that eventually won the race and married Atalanta. How? Every time Atalanta got ahead of him, he rolled an apple ahead of her. In this way, she was slowed down as she picked up the apples (Theoi Greek Mythology n.d.). “Everything comes with a price.” So just be aware of all these irresistible golden apples before you want to post about them or share them to someone.
And last one – Narcissus
Narcissus was famous for his beauty and his disdain for those who loved him. The gods were tired of his behavior so they cursed him. One day he came to a pool, saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love. Unable to leave his own beauty, he laid down by the pool gazing at his reflection and was slowly dying. Now you know where the word narcissism originated from. So do not fall in love with your own reflection and do not use social media to feed our egos.
Camus, A & Heidenheimer, PH, 2007, The myth of Sisyphus, Fulcrum Press.
Guinn, J & Perry, D 2005, The Sixteenth Minute: Life In the Aftermath of Fame, New York, Jeremy F. Tarcher/Penguin (a member of The Penguin Group), p. 4.
Theoi Greek Mythology n.d., ‘ATALANTA: Princess of Arcadia’, Theoi, <http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Atalanta.html>.
Woodlief, A 2001, ‘The story of Orpheus and Eurydice, as told by Apollonius of Rhodes, Virgil and Ovid (and retold by Edith Hamilton in Mythology)’, Virginia Commonwealth University, viewed 24 April 2015, <http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/eurydice/eurydicemyth.html>.