If you're on social media at all you've likely seen something about Bo Burnham's directorial debut: Eighth Grade. Admittedly we walked into the theater expecting something in a similar vein to Burnham's stand up style and while the musical humor and carefully scripted elements were there... a lot of honesty about middle school and anxiety was too. Bo's ability to empathize combined with his desire to be honest makes for a story with heart.
In most interviews, Burnham explains his motivation for making the film as a means to show how he feels about social media and how IT makes US feel. He's a fan of what platforms like Youtube used to be: kids reviewing Yankee candles and other such wonderful obscurities. Burnham does make us more self aware while also giving a voice to a new generation of creators who maybe no one is watching or has yet to discover. He is able to draw our attention to the double life many of us lead while having to represent ourselves on social media and in real life, and how often those lives are completely different. He draws attention to the way we feel: connected yet lonely. And of course he delivers this perspective and feeling without ever sounding preachy. So let's take Burnham's film as a gentle word of warning and seek more honesty for ourselves and in others online.
What do you think content creators could do to embrace a more realistic representation of themselves? We love to follow the adventures of daily vloggers with the knowledge that we are still only catching glimpses of someones life... however, daily updates from someone you admire, or empathize with do create a useful platform for simple honesty and even ugly truth.
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