So social media; I guess this post is a little bit off the usual tangent of my blog, but I felt the need to post it anyway, you all have no choice.
I think social media fantastic (for one thing, it’s going to keep me in a job for a while too). It has allowed me to keep in contact with people who are thousands of miles away, but at what cost? Now I’m not saying that it is all bad, but what has it done to go we interact with the people we are with at any given moment? When you wake up in the morning, is the first thing you check your Facebook news feed? Is there a problem with that?
Looking at what everyone else is getting up to and this ‘fear of missing out’ (or FOMO, good old social media acronym speak) is something that is more predominant now in the age of social media that we live in than ever before. Can it be bad for us? When we can connect whenever we want to, why do we feel the inherent need to be able to check up on what everyone else is doing? We compare our lives based on the feeds of others; these thought about, highly constructed posts that we make, that make others form an opinion of us.
I know I seem to be focusing on the negatives of it all thus far, when it has honestly been a great tool for me to keep in touch, but how much is too much? Can people really switch off and live a ‘disconnected’ life when they have been connected for so long? Why are we so meticulous at structuring the online version of ourselves for everyone to like/comment/share about? Can it make us forget to really live in the moments that we are in? Like, am I more concerned about being able to keep in touch with everyone back home so I’m not fully experiencing my time overseas to the best of my potential? Would it change the relationships that I have here so far and how would it affect people back home if I just cut everything off?
Is it imperative that everyone knows everything and why are we sharing things about our lives that no one (really) needs to know? Does it make us disconnect from our real life relationships in such a way that if everything looks good on Facebook, then everything must be good? Then does spending time in real life with someone you care about get affected by their use of social media? I know that so far this post hasn’t really answered any questions about how we use social media (rather probably just posed more) but are we even conscious enough to consider it a problem? When it becomes day to day routine, how do you then break that routine and just ‘disconnect’? Is it really easy to step back and think about a connectivity now on a deeper level and can you remember a time when you lived without it? What is the world going to be like if we stop considering these questions for younger generations, who are born into a world of interconnectivity and will they even have a choice?
I have had these thoughts regarding social media use for a while and it has stemmed from incidents that occurred within a previous relationship of mine. ‘X’, we shall refer to this person as (for privacy reasons) would *constantly* be attached to Facebook on their phone. To the point where on more than one occasion when we were hanging out, I suggested ‘no phone time’ when we were together. I was met with the response of ‘but how can you say that, every time I am on your phone on Facebook, you are too’.
This wasn’t a lie. I was on my phone. I think that my reasoning for this was because ‘X’ was on theirs and I didn’t want to feel like I was just sitting there, waiting for someone to talk to and pay me some actual attention, not just occasionally look up from a screen. So I thought, well, I might as well see what’s going on, on Facebook too. This is a problem. This particular instance was more complicated because ‘X’ (and I’ll admit, I did it too) portrayed our relationship through Facebook as something it was not. It seemed like all roses and happy fun times but it wasn’t. That’s because no one ever posts anything that is *actually* real. Now I’m not saying to air your dirty laundry and post negative stuff and whatever, but maybe it would be better if there was nothing online at all? (Note: this is in no way a stab, bitch, rant about anyone, I am cool and happy and so much better off anyway… But remember, the person I am talking about is ‘X’, no one you would know). Why do our relationships of all things hold so much weight on what everyone sees on Facebook?
Along this line of thought, I think that if I’m ever relationship with someone, I want to keep it all off Facebook. Why do people now need to be ‘Facebook official’ before anything is considered real? I’m talking no tags, no anniversary posts, no ‘you’re so amazing’ status updates. Because it’s all fake. The second you post something online about yourself or someone else it gets removed from the tangible world. It becomes a series of 001000101 codes that translate meaning into something real, but it isn’t. It’s not real at all. You can call me a cynic or a hypocrite (because yes, this blog post too is coming up on my Facebook) but I wanted to post it to highlight to whoever winds up reading along this far that it isn’t real. It’s a representation of real that for some reason now we hold so much value to, we construct it and make it a part of our reality, when it really isn’t.
Social media can initiate a change in mindset, it allows you to see thing you would have maybe never been exposed to before but it doesn’t initiate a change in action. Only actual action does that. This is where the lines are blurred I guess, a successful social media campaign can help change societal views and shift perceptions, but this only happens if action, actual real world ‘I’m doing stuff in real life and making a difference’, action occurs. Social media is n amazing tool, but I think sometimes we forget that as people, we are the amazing initiators of changes, so sharing that rally post on Facebook helps, only if you attend the actual rally and follow through – we are completely virtualised (yet…).
To finish on a positive, I want to say how great social media really is. It’s an amazing tool we can use to keep in contact with our old friends, stay in touch with family, share your views and opinions about things you are passionate about and let people know you are safe (when you are doing things such as say, travelling abroad on your own). But I want you to think about your own social media use. What you post. How you construct your life online. How people perceive that life. Are the mediums that we use to stay in touch (social media) changing the constructs of how we actually live our lives (our message)? (A few uni people will love my little McLuhan referencing here, haha). I don’t know whether or not I am saying that this is a good or a bad thing explicitly, I just think that it needs to be something that is thought about a bit more deeply.
If this is how we are going to live our lives I believe that we should at least be aware of the deeper psychosocial and let’s face it, habitual and physiological (who has had the phantom phone vibrate before? Yep, physiological constructs are changing) practices that we are partaking in.
So now that you have come to the end of my existential social media/why do we live our lives like this/question rant and you feel like you don’t know what to do with your life anymore, have a pretty photo from my day today in Paris 😛 xxx
Oh and here’s me taking a selfie with the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. I’m so mature.