I was just reading this article and the below quote, referring to the competitive show-off culture that is becoming more apparent, and that is perpetuated through social media and by those of us who use it, self included (says the girl with the pictorial blog... *ahem*).

"I can see exactly how and why more people are wrestling with how to believe they are enough. I see the cultural messaging everywhere that says that an ordinary life is a meaningless life. And I see how kids that grow up on a steady diet of reality television, celebrity culture and unsupervised social media can absorb this messaging and develop a completely skewed sense of the world. I am only as good as the number of “likes” I get on Facebook and Instagram."

I relate this to what I wrote in my post last week, about battling your way through the "Find Your Passion" fog (the pressure to establish a dream career). But it goes further than that.

Remember the good ol' days when FB was all about how you decorated your wall with amusing gadgets? Mine had virtual Post-Its; they were pretty cutting edge. Remember the days when it was called Thefacebook? (No, I don't.) There were no notifications. Occasionally someone would post a comment on your wall. There was no news feed, so the whole universe couldn't read your conversations. You didn't have to be subjected to pictures of everyone's tropical holidays while you were freezing at your cubicle, unless you went out of your way to visit their wall. You could live in the blissfully unaware bubble of your own life. That was nice. You didn't have to worry about whether you attended an event wearing the same outfit as last week in case someone tagged you in a photo and the WHOLE WORLD found out that you sometimes wear your dresses more than once. Your happiness meter was not affected by the number that appears in that seductive red notification bubble. Heaven forbid you have no notifications at all -- or if they're all invitations to play Bejewelled (please stop). Sometimes FB feels more like a Competition of Life than a way to stay in contact with pals or to plow a virtual farm.

The competition is not only about how you look but what you do for a living, where/how much you travel and even what you get up to on the weekend. It's really beginning to bug me. But the crucial part? It's not that you're judging others on their posts (unless they deserve it or if they misuse your/you're) but it's the way you judge yourself, when you see the holiday someone else is on, or what they're doing with their life, or how fashionable their clothes are, and you berate yourself because you might be doing something totally normal and mundane, or you might be having a frightening hair/fashion day/week/life or you might not have the funds to go on a holiday right now or your boyfriend didn't give you no-reason flowers like that other girl's. Whatever it might be, social media is like a big vat of fodder for the jealousy fire. And then, when it's you who's out somewhere cool or you get a surprise present, or you're relaxing with cocktails by a pool and you're sitting at a convenient angle that makes your thighs look less like a blob than usual and the Toaster filter on Insta gives you an amazing buff and tan, there's just that part of you that feels like you have to broadcast this moment on Instagram/Facebook because if you don't, others won't see that you're good looking, in certain disguises, and that your life is cool too, dammit, otherwise it may as well not have happened at all. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way sometimes because my buddies have verified same.

Social media presents such a conundrum, to me. On the one hand, it's invaluable because it allows you to be in the loop of casual gatherings and stay in touch with friends and family, especially those that don't live close by, and get little glimpses of their lives without having to exchange full-blown emails (so 2001) or phone calls, because let's face it, it just wouldn't happen and you would lose contact with a lot of people that you legit want to stay in contact with. On the other hand I friggin hate it because of all the competitiveness and that it's so goshdamn addictive. Last week I deleted the Facebook App off my phone. Two reasons. Firstly because iOS 7 is draining my data like nobody's business and secondly, I was getting so sick of myself not being able to help scrolling through the news feed before I went to sleep and first thing in the morning and several times on the train to work! I mean, get a life. And you know what else I don't like? When you're at a social gathering that might be a bit dull and so you take to the FB scrolling. It's rude and it's sad that we can't just make the effort to be present and to make the most of the situation. Have a conversation. People watch. Drink too much. Put the phone down. Make like a Baby Boomer and turn the device completely OFF until you need to make an emergency phone call! (Okay... too far.) By the way, if anyone's wondering, I was at Cronulla RSL on Saturday night. I didn't get to tell any of you because my phone battery was dead. But rest assured I was out and I was doing something cool with a lot of other cool people. I am cool.

I'm as guilty as the next bloke when it comes to slipping in the occasional show-off on social media, much more guilty than some. Wasn't life much simpler when you just enjoyed yourself and didn't feel the need to give a running commentary? I actually legitimately think that my friends who aren't FB over-sharers or who don't have FB at all are much cooler. So let's all put that in our pipes and smoke it, ay? Yes, well, I'm still learning to edit myself and my responses to what I see (all is not always as it seems) but the deletion of the FB app is something I'm really enjoying - would you try it?

Image Credit

A Pretty Freaking Great Post

No comments: