Despite social media’s scorecards, belonging is also a matter of fleeting, spontaneous empathy, moments of presence in which we’re not just watching and tracking others but experiencing an underlying mutuality. The tension between the immeasurable intimacy of such moments and the precisely metered popularity of the self as a branded identity can become unbearable. It plays out as a perpetually unfolding crisis of insecure exposure that we crave and refuse simultaneously.
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