I am not sure who created the original ‘MEME’ or what the thought process behind the name was but some years on, it appears to have a slightly different connotation. We live in an online, divisive WWW (wonderwebworld) of right and wrong, right and left, liar or truthseeker, with one common theme – ME. The #MeToo culture has become #MeMe; listen to me, look at me, hear me, see me. Me, not US or WE, which is ironic when we aspire to become a more inclusive society.

We seem unable to hold discussions or normal conversations, with opinions, that, historically, might have been the basis of debating societies the world over or healthy dinner party chat. A difference of opinion can now escalate to instant alienation and anger. We become victim or victor in a stark contrast of a black Vs white lens. #BLM matter, indeed they do but so does #ELM (Every Life Matter).

Our tolerance level appears to be commensurate with our limited attention span but why and what does it say about the modern world? Since when did a journalist walk out of a highly paid job because of a storyline, unless it was staged, of course?

Differences of opinion are healthy and needed in a democracy. I find our social evolution so interesting, particularly having recently seen some of Adam Curtis’s documentaries, where the themes of ‘self-expression’ and ‘individualism’ are addressed as part of the cyclic nature of history and socio-economic evolution. Yet we have taken it one step further – we have all become the Google and social experts of other people’s lives.

Curtis’s work explores the various layers of ‘Glocal’ Life and History and reminds us that what we see may not be as straightforward as we might like to believe. Much of modern living and opinion is subjective, depending on the viewpoint, but usually based on many layers, many of which can’t be seen – like the roots of a tree.

Whereas generations past may have revealed more self-expression as a reaction to oppression or depressive eras or decades, our modern-day version of free speech includes additional ingredients to the tree roots and branches: social media. But are we the individual thought leaders of the #MeMe generation or are we simply being controlled by a much bigger force?

The truth is that we simply don’t know or at least aren’t fully aware of every motive or intention of the powers that be. Every time we strike a key, upload a photo, comment on a post or add a ‘like’, we are providing data and market research to those at the helm – adding branches to the #ELM Tree. We become filtered into a set or sub-set of information that can be used to sell to us or used against us. Yet, because of our need to be heard, we just keep e-shouting.

Was the M&H interview a global discussion point as a by-product of generation #MeMe, #MeToo or because of the ‘their’ power? Our 2021 version of individualism is perhaps less individual than we may think. The free-thinking decade in which we live has not evolved should unite and not divide us. We have all lived through a global pandemic but it would seem that this experience has divided or polarised us more and may continue to do so.

Instead of skin colour, religion, sexual orientation or social class, we might be divided by vaccination status; those with or without vaccine passports. The longer-term socio-political ramifications or intentions are unclear and perhaps best not shared at this stage but all I can see in my mind’s eye is the segregation of ‘Years and Years’.

The whole premise of #MeMe needs to shift to #WeWe and #ELM without making reference to urination! We are all the same:same but different and need to sometimes agree to disagree or embrace difference. Businesses cannot evolve if every employee or worker has the same skill set. We need difference within a corporate setting so why can’t we welcome similarities and differences in the same breath. We need to remember that, just like the #ELM Tree, we are all connected at some level, regardless of whether we live in a tin hut in Zambia or a penthouse in Central London.

Our world is complex yet pretty simple at the same time. Paradox upon paradox; contradiction upon contradiction, the more confused we become, the less ability we have to think clearly. We react instead of thinking, considering and discussing. We talk of kindness and #BeKind yet attack anyone who disagrees with us online.

We love ‘Killing Eve’ but despise gun culture, violence or gun ownership, perhaps as we have become de-sensitized to experience because of social media and (even more so) because of the pandemic. You see how complicated and anti-social it all becomes?

Bottom line, we need to remember the wisdom of the humble #ELM Tree or any tree for that matter. We all need solid roots that are nurtured, watered, maintained and exposed to sunlight. We grow upwards (and outwards during Lockdown, LOL!) and as the seasons wax and wane, we grow and become stronger, even (and especially) when our leaves fall off. Every tree matters and most certainly, especially now, Every Life Matters. I am sure we can all agree on that…