Social media has turned the art of living into an act of performance. ― Michael Bliss
Being a human is hard. Being a human in this day and age with social media/technology is extremely hard.
With technology advancing faster than ever, for some, it is becoming difficult to live authentically and in the moment/real time.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you know it is no surprise that I’m a very private person. The more we’re being pushed to work and live online, the more I want to pull back and live in reality.
Today, I wanted to share some thoughts on living between reality and the online world.
To share or not to share? That is the question.
As someone who used to put up a post every single day on Facebook and LOVED Instagram (until Facebook touched it), I’m struggling big time to share what I love, my interests, and my life. Actually, I’ve been struggling for awhile.
The Instagram “algorithm” has made me feel like a circus animal. I’m sure you can agree when I say we’ve been jumping through hoop after hoop just so our work can be seen by people who have chosen to follow us, right?
Moreover, the online world has become negative, critical, and very performative.
Any topic, you name it, someone is always negative about something.
From personal observations, most people are at each other’s throats. And to my surprise (but not really) last week? Pop culture! Someone had responded to my comment on a pop culture post with a question that I could tell was from a troll. As someone who does not like to waste time, I chose not to respond.
Lo and behold, I scroll down a bit to see the person had left many responses under a ton of people’s comments. To me, that’s just someone looking to pick a fight. Again, no time, sis. I’m not sorry to say that life is way too short to be angry at someone’s opinion on a pop-culture post. ::insert eye roll emoji::
Hardly anyone reads anymore.
Someone can post a video of some beautiful animals with a few humans and bam! You get people all up in arms saying these animals should be set free, blah, blah, blah. And guess what the caption says? That particular animal is injured and won’t be released back into the wild until they can make a full recovery. ::insert another eye roll emoji::
No one can do or say anything in the online world without being cancelled and criticized to oblivion.
Instead of having real heart-to-heart conversations, people make assumptions and jump to conclusions. It’s as if they are looking to intentionally throw temper tantrums and spew hate. Instead of reading an entire article, much less do research on the topic, they read the headline and hit the share button. And guess what? It turns out it’s click-bait and/or the content they shared is not true.
What happened to being open to someone’s thoughts and opinions on a subject matter? We could certainly learn a lot more if we had safe and open conversations.
Don’t even get me started on digging up tweets as old as the early days of Twitter just to cancel someone.
Lastly, the online world has taken the being out of human being.
We are constantly tugged between performance and being.
Because of social media, our own websites have been abandoned (anyone remember reading blogs in early 2010s?) for “better exposure” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. We no longer know how to code (hi, MySpace Tom, I miss you), document our lives on a platform we actually own, or write meaningful captions.
We’re no longer being our true selves when we’re keeping up with the Joneses in this aspect.
The content we created out of our genuine hearts are now being created based on how it will perform.
We’re reluctantly creating reels when we our passion is photography. And it’s harder than ever to stand out because everyone is starting look and act the same.
Brands who used to work with bloggers and influencers because of their work and personalities now scoff at micro and nano influencers based on their numbers. Yes, this is true. All I can say is if a brand told me, “I don’t know where you think you got the confidence from after looking at your following,” when I ask for my rate, I would be putting them on BLAST.
I know not every brand is like this, but I can’t help, but think brands look only at numbers now. Can you imagine how many missed opportunities?
Moreover, we’re getting offers of being paid in product or “exposure” without considering how much time it takes to create a single image or video. And if we’re remotely lucky, we’re offered low rates. I’m not kidding when I say I was once offered brochures of a product to shoot. Not the product itself, b-r-o-c-h-u-r-e-s.
The online world has also created a performative culture.
Influencers are shilling products and services you know they won’t even use after they publish their content, but because they need to get paid to pay their bills, they’ll do it. So what do we see now? The same product being promoted by multiple influencers.
Consumers also end up seeing unrealistic shots of a campaign. Trust me, no one should be wearing a pom pom beanie while promoting shampoo, ha!
All this to say that if you struggle living between reality and living in the online world, know this…
YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS / FEELINGS / LIFE PUBLICLY.
If you come across someone asking you to share more of your beliefs, more of your home, and your relationships / friendships, just know one thing. You are not obligated to share anything.
While it may be because your audience is genuinely interested in you and your life, you need to create boundaries. You can choose to wait until it’s the right time to share or you don’t have to share at all. This goes for the bad news that happen to you too.
Years ago, I did an experiment and took a hiatus from Facebook. I hope you read my article if you’re needing a nudge to take regular breaks from social media/technology and live in the moment.
DON’T GIVE IN TO THE ONLINE PRESSURE.
It’s your platform, share what YOU want to share. If someone says, “You have a (huge) platform! You should be more responsible and use it.” You know what my response would be? “Well, Jack, the last time I checked, this is my online space. In my online space, I share (or not) share whatever I want.”
Chances are, you’re probably doing more to make a change than the person who’s criticizing you is!
Want to know the best foot-in-mouth moment? It’s when someone criticizes you for not doing something and they show up in your inbox. Then, you DM them back to let them know that you did in fact donate, contacted your local representative, volunteered with a charity, had meaningful conversations IRL, etc., but that you don’t care to put it on blast. That is THE best feeling.
I mean, there was such a time when we gave back/helped mankind without looking to be praised for it or have video evidence of it. Now, don’t get me wrong. Some accounts video their good deeds and you can tell it’s truly genuine. I’m talking about those with accounts who do it for the engagement metrics.
I’ve come to the conclusion that people want a response from you because they need someone to validate their feelings. ‘Reassurance’ is the word we’re looking for here.
WHATEVER YOU DO WILL BE A CATCH-22
If you do share, you’re met with judgement, harsh comments, cancel culture, etc. And if you don’t share, people still comment or DM you and say that you don’t care. You’ll never win so live your life the best and most authentic as you can. If you feel called to publicly share, go for it. If you want to keep parts of your live private, more power to you.
For me, my care meter drops when someone criticizes me when I do or don’t do something. God and I both know where my heart lies and what actions I’ve taken or plan to do. At the end of my life, what every person has criticized me for doing/not doing won’t matter because it’ll be God doing the judging.
Do you struggle with living the present due to social media or technology holding you back? If so, I’d like for you to share in the comments.
How do you feel about the online world and living your life online versus living in reality?