First post of 2019! And I thought to write about social media as it is something I’m constantly thinking of. Moreover, last night I watched two documentaries of Netflix:
– Follow Me starring Asri Bendacha
– The American Meme starring Paris Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Brittany Furlan
The reason why I watched these documentaries is because I’m trying to understand why do tools such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter became beyond important in our lives… they’re fundamental. Professionals always tend to reply “Oh but I do it for work“. I also say “I’m on it just for work” but I do know that my work is not really dependent on Instagram because even when I wasn’t on it I was still working (friends know I get to a point every 6 months circa when I just delete my account and go off). In Follow Me what I found interesting is the fact that is very much centred on the Arabic countries and culture, many of the influencers are Arab women and to them it’s important to show the world who is an Arab woman: she is independent, beautiful, witty etc. They want to break the idea we have of Arab women – only to create a new one, which again is not even that real either I believe. It’s only a tiny part of the truth because it’s just one person’s truth, and of that one person’s truth only the best and presentable has been selected to show the world.
Is it for work we do it really? Or is work the excuse to be on it and share infinite photos of ourselves? Humans are experts at finding excuses for something they don’t want to admit because they judge it negatively. After watching these two documentaries I laid in my bed thinking…. what are we hiding? What is the need that drives us? What is the fear that rides the horse? Because we can have a million reasons and a million different needs and fears BUT I believe there is one common denominator in this equation.
Who are you without your 500k followers and without your Instagram profile?
I think Instagram feeds with emptiness our need of being loved; it illudes with holograms of thousands of people our fear of being alone. Let me explain better….
Everyone has a need of being loved, some more than others and for some it’s a need they can barely cope with. The needs we have as adults are created during our childhood, as we know children have many needs and parents should do their best to cover all of them… however, at some point somewhere they f**k up. A child who growing up didn’t feel loved will become an adult that will do anything to have that need covered. There is no problem in that but if the adult is not aware then yes there’s a problem because his/her actions will be driven by that need (fyi – animals are driven by needs…..). Perhaps these parents loved their child but they expressed it in the wrong way or haven’t expressed it at all, so this creates a void. In time many also develop a fear of being alone with themselves because it’s in those moments that they feel that void and don’t know what to do with it. What I could observe both in these documentaries and in people I know who are obsessed with social media is that by growing your followers you think you are getting that love you didn’t have when you were a child, as if 1 million strangers could fill in the love that your mom didn’t give you. AS IF. And your fear of being alone is rewarded by you being alone in reality because you interact with other minds in a sort of imaginary realm, you don’t interact with people. It’s holograms interacting with holograms and it’s “safer” since we don’t risk being hurt…. we don’t risk discovering that this person doesn’t really like us by looking into their eyes. With social media if one person stops liking you, or loving you, well there are 5 others who will….
What I’m trying to say is that it’s just a mind game. It’s really just mental interaction. We know that our mind creates the reality but here we are not even creating a “real reality”… we are creating a virtual reality in which we hide. We are creating a huge separation. There are several mental illnesses where the person can’t tell what is real and what is not and I fear we are entering in that stage… the scariest thing is that children are already entering that stage! Children who start using Instagram stop observing the world around them!
I think what it also does is that this “love” (gosh I hate using such a high word in such a wrong way) you think you receive by strangers you will keep on getting it only if you keep on giving these people what they want (and need? ultimately). Silly no? Especially if we think we all crave for unconditional love, yet we keep going the opposite direction.
… I think what scares me is the ability social media has to control one’s mind; how humans are prone to addictions and if it’s not drugs then it’s the likes or the message ringtone. It preoccupies me how today we “meet” more people online who live on the other side of the world rather than deepen relationships we have here next to us. … I don’t have an answer, because if on one side I like Instagram, I love photos and I like sharing them … on the other side at times the demands Instagram has makes me anxious. One to be successful online must fully commit to be living online. A commitment I certainly did not make (and my number of followers is the proof). The only commitment I made is to be myself even online, which doesn’t mean I put all of me out there… and more and more often I wish I didn’t put even that little of me out there for everyone to see, and judge and think about.
I wonder now that I’m writing about this if I too have an addiction. I did check my Instagram like a dozen times and chatted with friends on it, shared a photo and planning to share more… as I was writing this post. Is it addiction? Perhaps the only way to find out is to get offline for some time and see the effects this has on you.
How does it feel to just do something and not share it? Not showing, not telling. Just being immersed in the doing. I heard a saying time ago that said “if you didn’t post it it didn’t happen”, wow! Are we already there? I mean, you go workout at the gym and you post a photo of you lifting weights… why? What for? I did it too but why? Was it for me? Was it for… who? A girlfriend of mine once told me that she uses Instagram for herself, her feed is a photo album of memories that sometimes she scrolls during low times just to be reminded of the places she’s been and things she’s done. Mmmm just to be reminded that a low moment is but a tide? And is that helping in any way to lift up? … At last, why can’t we just live the low tide fully in our solitude? …
Just a bit of thoughts… Have a lovely day all 🙂