Is your life social media-worthy?

Do you remember the time when you were in school and there was a cool gang everybody wanted to be a part of? You’re probably older now but there is still a cool gang you most likely want to be a part of. I do not mean a gang literally. Human beings continue to age as time goes by because it is beyond their control but do they grow as well? Today I am talking specifically about the pressures people, teenagers and adults alike face in the e-world i.e. the world of social media and where our online journey could take us.

There are a gazillion websites on world wide web each one of them telling us how we can preserve and share the latest from our life in the form of pictures or live videos or 140 character announcements. They are all out there competing for our attention and do you know what, we are in a similar race competing for the attention of followers, admirers and people who would like, share, recommend, re-post or re-tweet us.

Everybody is in some sort of a rat race and that should be exciting, shouldn’t it? Only it isn’t, the excitement dies out with time especially when you have too much invested in these mediums with little knowledge of the ‘why’ you are so invested in them. Would you like to acknowledge how much time you spend on them and whether you could let go if you wanted to (I mean quit the world of social media)? If no is your answer to the latter, ask yourself why not? What difference does it really make to your life?

Every coin has two sides to it and the e-world is no different.

Social media is a wonderful addition to our lives because there’s so much we can get out of it but every coin has two sides and the e-world is no different. It is that monster that has an absolutely lovely face on the outside, is lively and so much fun to hang out with that we easily miss to realise that that’s not all there is to it. The cool gang that I was talking about is now defined by the world of social media and most of us fall into the majority hankering to be a part of the it. If there was a popular girl or guy back at school then there still is one or a few on your e-circuit who you cannot stop talking about. Did you see the fancy vacation spot she was last at or the cool new gadgets he posted on Twitter about? Did you see them check-in to that fancy club last night or the number of re-tweets he got for his provocative tweet last week? Do you not secretly want the growing following he or she has on Instagram?

It’s a never-ending business of keeping up with the world and sharing with it all that’s cool in our life.

Of clicking and posting pictures of every dish we eat, every place we visit and tag every person we meet! Of doing things that you can show off on social media about. Because shit happens to no one, neither us nor the cool people and our e-profiles or avatars define and paint the perfect lives we live. What a sad reality this is.

While most people are intelligent enough to understand that nobody’s life is free of problems, pressures and challenges, somehow social media succeeds in propagating the false idea that others have a picture perfect life and that leads to envy, greed and lust for what others have and we do not.

There’s a fancy term used for it now called the fear of missing out (sure give it a nice new name, it still is the same thing).

Social media also promotes vanity because our world starts to get defined by how many people like our pictures as opposed to how much of a difference we make to this world. If people ever thought this world revolved around them, then social media encourages everybody to think so to a much greater extent because how could it not. Isn’t the world waiting for what you would post next- a selfie at the latest hot spot in town or the number of Pokemons you have caught or a picture using the new filter (hello Prisma) on Instagram or your opinion on the new car on the market or the latest political controversy? More followers, more power or so the belief goes.

And then there are those who are not fortunate enough to get too many likes or re-posts who go into overdrive in the negative direction by developing insecurities of how their lives aren’t exciting enough and how their pictures are not cool enough so their life must suck! The tangents social media can inspire people to go on are diverse and amusing to be honest.

Social media is one big reason people are overloaded with unnecessary information and end up with short attention spans. Credits: Geralt

It is also well documented how social media has led to short attention spans because there is an information overload and it is quite confusing to take a decision on whether to focus on our own lives or others! Because you know what if we miss to see pictures of his fancy wedding or her views on everything happening in this world? Social media has inspired people (not many would honestly accept doing this) to stalk other people’s lives to gain information about them that they could not have got otherwise. With that information, how could they not gossip and spend hours talking about everyone from their high school, university to colleagues at work. After all what use is information if you cannot share it with others, right?

However the biggest flaw of social media would have to be that we miss out (yes am using this term again albeit for different reasons) on real life while spending countless hours catching up with other people’s opinions and lives. There is so much happening in our own lives that we try to escape and deny the presence of, by staring at beautiful pictures and awwing over this and that. There is much to deal with, to learn from in our own lives that we ignore because it is not as exciting as what is out there in the e-world.

There is such beauty to experience out in the park, in our neighbourhood gallery or museum, in the cloudy sky, in the eyes of the old man walking up and down our street every day, in the music of the early morning breeze that we miss out on because we are focused elsewhere. There is love to be felt and joy and sorrow to be shared and it cannot exactly happen through the walls on Facebook. There are worlds of stories to lose and find oneself in that cannot be found on the Instagram feed of celebrities. There is bliss of having nothing to do but breathe and relax but it cannot be felt if we quickly log on to Twitter to talk about it as soon as we have one minute to ourselves.

Ironically there’s much that we miss out on in our own life when our focus is on ‘not missing out.’
We miss out on what life has to offer us while we are busy checking out the lives and opinions of others. Credits: Bruno Gomiero

The truth is though that social media is not to blame. It is a fantastic and extremely useful tool gifted to us by the tech wizards of this world but tools can become immensely powerful or useless depending on how we choose to use them. There’s no denying the power of social media now but will you too get sucked into its fierce and brutal hold or choose consciously how much and when you want to use it? Let me put it another way:

Do you want your life to be social media worthy or one that is meaningful to you? Which is more important- to feel happy or to ensure that everybody else knows you’re happy? How would you rather spend your time- on yourself and real life or on that of others feeling fears this world has invented fancy terms for? Would you rather be cool in the eyes of this world (even if internally you feel exhausted) or just somebody you are immensely happy to be?

PS: Yes, please log off and ponder on these grave questions that another social media portal has planted in your already tired mind.😛 Well I never denied that it’s an extremely valuable tool, did I?😉

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Originally published at thethoughtumbrella.wordpress.com on August 26, 2016.