*checks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and hmm, why not? Tinder, too*
I confess I am lost in the age of the social.
If you are anything like I am, then you will most probably start your day off by checking social media, you know: lurk on the usual Facebook profiles, like some perfection-seeked Instagram photos and possibly send out a smart-arse, righteous tweet voicing your opinion on something that you probably know absolutely nothing about — #MyOpinionIsFact. Then just before you hit the pillow to conclude the day down, you (for the hundredth time that day) check social media, and repeat this multiple times before you actually sleep.
So, why do we do it?
I don’t know why we do it, I don’t have the answers. I guess it [social media] is just so far embedded into our everyday lives that it is now instinctive to us and therefore a part of who we are as a species. And although I see the many benefits to the global village social media has created; lately I have been exposed to the toxins released from social media.
We are described as the social age yet I don’t think we are authentically communicating ourselves to others; we are, instead, exhibiting false versions of ourselves behind screens and filters. And when it comes to face-to-face communication we are screen and filter deprived; we don’t know what to do. We panic. What do we do when we panic? We go on our phones and avoid reality.
I am no technophobe. I would, however, say that I have a huge phobia of technology taking over our human experience. Our natural lives are being disturbed by the many technological illusions, the main one being social media. Being part of the social media age is like being the subject of a social experiment: exciting but the unknown creates multiple anxieties and a feeling of unease. Where will future technological advancements take us? Good places, one can only hope.
I was quite late joining the phenomenon that is Snapchat and although, for me, there was once a novelty attached to it; it is now slowly but surely wearing off. I think like all social media, if used correctly, Snapchat is a good way of sharing with others the spontaneity of our daily lives. If that is Snapchat’s genuine agenda — to offer a platform to document a balanced and healthy amount of events with our family and friends — then they have failed.
Instead, it has distorted our realities and has made us into liars with what our Snapchat stories imply. The Snapchat story has given us the opportunity to exaggerate our lives by creating enforced “good times” and all whilst posting those selfies, we are missing out on truly experiencing those memories. Selfies or memories? What is more important?
*coughs* selfies *coughs* (memories!!!)
We all do it to an extent and we can’t even deny it. We all like to post our finest and most proudest moments on social media. But why do we do it? Is it because we are genuinely proud of ourselves or is it because we wish to subconsciously seek validation (and attention) from others?
I recently watched the first episode of the third season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and it kind of summarises what I am talking about in this piece — I clearly should have written the episode! If you haven’t given the show a watch then I deeply recommend that you do so.
The first episode, ‘Nosedive’, gives us a depiction of where our society is headed (some would argue that we are already there!) and it is shockingly scary because it is shockingly true. It is a satire of acceptance and the image of ourselves we like portray and to project onto others. I won’t spoil it for you but basically it involves a shallow humanity (yes, even more shallow that it already is!) who rate each other’s personalities and social encounters out of five stars.
I sighed several times whilst watching it and I checked social media several times whilst watching it, too.
Social media has the power to create a together society but I think it has resulted in quite the opposite. You only have to look around and see people’s faces when they scroll through their timelines. Do they look happy? From what I have observed, the majority of people (myself included!) looking down at their phones look dispirited and disengaged from reality.
This piece isn’t supposed to be my bitter goodbye to social media (because truthfully I don’t think I will ever be able to completely avoid social media) but instead a self-awakening of what is happening to our generation — what has happened to our generation, I should say.
I probably come across hypocritical writing this piece but I’m not saying I am morally superior to others, I am just pointing out our current society’s flaws. I am not bashing our generation, I am just observing and sighing.
It is hard not to involve ourselves with social media but all I know is that there is more to life than selfies, filters, hashtags and emojis.
When I don’t know what to say or I don’t know how to conclude my thoughts, I like to share some kind of imagery (or song!) that will explain my thought processes better. Luckily, I found this video by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir. Are you lost in the world like me? This is exactly what I’m talking about: