The Greek myths are the most well known stories from ancient history, their stories and characters have influenced man and his decision making for endless years. Many classic tales from the myths have found their way through adaptation in multiple storytelling mediums such as the written novel, the stage play, the motion picture, the comic book, and the video game. This blog post plays the game of Freakonomics( From the novel of the same name by Stephen D. Dubner and Steven Levitt) and makes a comparison between the Greek Gods and contemporary social media.
In the beginning…
In Greek mythology it was not the Gods who created the universe, in actuality the universe itself created the Gods. In the beginning it was all a vast, empty blackness, Chaos had complete control over everything. Somewhere down the road came two children were born from this nothingness as Night and Erebus. As time went on the universe became more defined and other powerful forces were birthed and took control.
Similarly, it was “chaos” to get the first computers up and running and out of the many endless nights eventually came a more defined creation which led to bigger and better things, particularly the creation of the world wide web. Social networking sites have become the staple of the internet, the most used and popular are always linked to by most businesses on their official websites. In other words, what was once a big, empty, black screen has over the years become a very colorful, multi-layered, gateway to information and communication, a world in itself.
I’m going to go out of my way and say that social media sites are, in a way, the Gods of the digital age. Like the Gods of the Greek( Or any other mythology) they provide services to the people of Earth and are always in one way or another sought for, referenced, and used either for business or for personal reasons. They present us with many gifts and tools that at one point in time was not thought possible but for as much good as they can be there’s also possibility of negative outcomes. Big difference between these positive/negative outcomes is that unlike the Gods of Greek mythology social networking sites are not sentient and whatever mistakes or miracles that do happen through them is all on who is using them.
Obviously Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Youtube are the equivalent of Olympians. They rank the highest on search engines( Popular ranking) and must have a seat in the digital age’s equivalent of Mount Olympus( Whatever they might be). Facebook in particular I see as being the equal to Zeus, Facebook is still the king of social media at the moment, as a survey from PCWorld.com suggests it still is (Link: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2908172/facebook-still-king-of-social-media-among-teens.html). It’s relationship with the other popular social medias is, like Zeus’ with the other Olympians, generally good but there is certainly some level of competition and friction between them at times( Like when a new feature is added to one which is quite similar to another’s already existing widget). Every user can share content on their page for one social media to another, which creates a dynamic between the networks which further defines the Olympian unit.
MySpace, as well as other social medias that were once extremely popular that have now fallen from grace are the equivalents of Titans. Titans were once divine beings who controlled the world till one day they were usurped by the younger Olympians. Like the Titans social media like MySpace still exists however they are no longer apart of the “it” crowd and not used for major importance.
Other social media which is birthed from Olympian social media like Twitter or Facebook can be viewed as their offspring the same way as Athena and Apollo were the daughter and son of Zeus. Other social media which was created with major social networking sites along with outside parties could be viewed as demigods in the digital age, quite like a Hercules, who was born from a deity(Zeus) and a mortal woman.
Widgets, special tools for social networking sites, can be viewed similarly to the tools used by the Gods, such as Poseidon’s Trident.
Special and very interesting note – In Greek mythology Zeus was rather split on the creation of human beings to inherit the world, he believed they were capable of doing great many things but also could do bad to themselves and others and over rely on the Olympians. This is a similar to how some people view advancement of technology, they see the potential it can bring to many lives but the potential is there for it to be used in the wrong hands and be bad. This is true with social media because it can be a good tool in the hands of the right person but also do bad in the wrong hands, whether directly or indirectly. As mentioned in an earlier blog post of mine social media can really affect a person’s own mental health.
Any other similarities you guys notice between the digital age and ancient mythology?