Social media can be perceived as forging one’s relationships and influencing one’s world view, but has it always allowed individuals to connect meaningfully? It mesmerises and grips the mind of its users. It fascinates, yet does not allow users to see how some of the content spread on these networks is being reduced or magnified in a way that blinds most individuals into disregarding the reality it represents. Users scroll vigorously, compulsively and intensely and yet desire without ‘seeing’. Individuals are engrossed in this virtual world, yet feel as if they are onlookers. This is how social media tend to operate; it is a form of allurement. These networks succeed in making users hysterical, attracting them with what initially repelled them. The influence these networks have on users is evident: individuals are mesmerised and kept entranced but they cannot move beyond this. In other words, users are entombed in a ‘scandalous’ relationship with social media. Users look inquisitively or voyeuristically into others’ lives as they become frenzied or hysterical. They desire to peek into the lives of the ‘sacred’ or at sacred content, and this content tends to be formulated in a manner that distorts reality. To interpret the reality, it is necessary to look beyond the surface-level and interact with this content in a more meaningful way. However, social media are constructed in such a manner that inhibits meaningful dialogue. This echoes McLuhan’s (1994:22) idea that electronic media are essentially without perspective because of the deep involvement of the senses.
From these observations, I have therefore dedicated my study to exploring what a Girardian hermeneutic reveals about social media as a medium, in essence the environment engendered on social media, in order to illustrate the mimetic and scandalous dimensions of these networks. Mimetic theory becomes a method of analysis through which we may interpret the significance of how social media effect the ways that individuals interact on these networks. Moreover, this study demonstrates how these networks are an efficient channel of mimetic desire. Thus, its value lies in the amalgamation of mimetic theory and media theory to formulate a better understanding of the inner-workings of these thriving platforms.