Holidays are really useful things: quite apart from the fact I stop staring at the same screen day and night, they are a reminder that change should always be the default. Going somewhere new, eating differently, exploring and expanding horizons are all really decent ideas. Sure, some people consider time away as an excuse to eat as much as possible from the breakfast buffet, or a means by which they can do nothing with 100% justification. I work on holidays, and have before my kids were born. Just lying on a sun lounger with a book will only make me grumpy. There is, in memory, only one occasion where this was ever enjoyable, and it didn’t last for long.
So, before I throw myself into a National Park before rain destroys any chance of exercise, I find myself thinking about those for whom enjoyment seems to spring from becoming something they’re not. There are a number of people in my Social media circle for which imitation is their stock in trade: in fact, they’re not happy unless they’re pretending to be somebody else. I’ve never understood this desire to ‘borrow’ other people’s personalities, but in a Digital age we have already spoken about how a winning formula is often too good a concept to let slip. Yes, it can seem either creepy or sad, but one assumes that those people doing it may not consider it as either, simply a good way to capitalize on someone else’s perceived popularity.
A problem comes, of course, when the person being imitated doesn’t feel comfortable with attention. I’ve blocked several people for that very reason, after various flashpoints: subsequently these people have left Social media before changing their minds and returning. I don’t understand why this happens: build up a following, then panic because of attention, seemingly failing to grasp that if you put yourself about that’s exactly what happens with this platform. However, on the flip side there are those who, without this imitation, would simply cease to exist. Sometimes, you look at something and don’t put the pieces together: on other occasions the plagiarism is so glaringly obvious you wonder why nobody else has picked it up.
I will freely admit that mimicry is one of my strengths: looking at something and quite quickly work out not only how to copy it, but improve on the original. I did this for about a decade as a designer too: nothing was ever ripped off (because yes, I get how that works) but a number of knock offs of designs were created that I was quite proud of. Nobody ever got hugely rich, and no-one was hurt in the production of these imitations: the lesson is now learnt. Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should. I think that’s why I’ve become adept at spotting those who like to pretend they’re being clever when really it’s a reliance on finding those people others don’t follow and siphoning from them.
In the end however, people just want to be popular. However much you might try and admit this isn’t the case, the whole world wants to be loved at some point. Those who need this constant 24/7 reassurance however can make life difficult for others without even realising that is the case. You can be an adult about these things, or grasp that there are better things to do than worry about it. Whatever you decide as the answer, this is your scheduled reminder that the Internet never forgets, will make you suffer if you disown and/or lie, and doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. If it’s entertainment, then someone will be ready to change your innocent imitation into a full on Drama for their own amusement.
Before you start being someone else, consider why it is that you’re uncomfortable being yourself.