By James Pavel 

 Babies, beaches and half-naked bodies are waiting to be discovered on what appears as almost every social media profile page. But a new, popular method of attracting attention has become tattoos, or new tattoos that have recently been penned on one’s body by an anonymous artist, who in reality, usually deserves all and sole credit for the artistic wizardry. 

 The adoption of tattoos as a new source of attention-craving has allowed individuals to surrender the sum of their identity to tattoos through social media. 

 The lower-back tat might be out, but in are half-arm sleeves, full-arm sleeves, rib-cage tattoos and basically anything that involves piercing the skin with a permanent needle. 

 In 2013, job titles or true achievements are thrown in the back-seat replaced by the immediate gratification that tattoos and social media postings can offer. Tattoos are a painful but mostly rewarding body alteration while social media can fuel the ego like air pressure to a deflated tire. 

 They are an ideal hybrid for individuals not interested in focusing on the big picture, but only on today and perhaps tomorrow. 

 What the tattoo actually communicates is less important than just having the ink visible. Bodies are being filled in faster than elementary school colouring books because the accolades one can receive via social media has become addicting, not unlike the lionizing one receives when yet another photo of one’s two-year-old suddenly uploads on to hundreds of social media feeds. 

 Tattoos were associated with sailors and bikers until the mid to late 90s. They are now found on what appears as every second or third 20-something year old. The explosion of tattoos has been amplified by the feverish use of social media, and both parties have benefited exponentially. 

 This generation’s obsession with body art is another blow to the original culture of rebellion. To have numerous tattoos thirty years ago allowed one to rest on the fringes of society. But in today’s world, little can make one fit in more than a dazzling image of seemingly anything, strutting across one’s arms or torso. 

 Social media truly is an alternative universe, where one can fall under the false impression that receiving yet another meaningless tattoo delivers the idea that they are living an ambitious and authentic lifestyle. 

 In reality, the world’s greatest privacy intruder, social media, is helping document millions of individuals succumbing to one of the generation’s most permanent trends, tattoos. 

 This movement is now burning down the metaphorical houses where true bad-asses once chose to reside. To appear rebellious is almost impossible because everything that was once “bad,” is now hysterically popular, no greater example than the countless tattoos posted through social media.