How different moments are experienced today due to social media and our newfound obsession with a little (or actually quite big) thing called an iPhone.
There's always that question about what's next for the direction that social media will be going in the near future. What's the new Facebook? What's the new Twitter? What's the new Instagram? What can we do next to make it feel like we can be there in actual time? At the rate it seems to be going, an app that allows us to time travel might as well be the next thing! Already changes are being made that seem to be on the way to changing the entire course of how social media effects our personal "brands" and the ways that we go about communicating with each other not only digitally, but in real life as well. This MR Round Table article posted on Man Repeller a little bit ago in particularly stood out to me. And especially so this quote from it:
"The biggest change I see is that our phones are making us become idealized versions of ourselves. It kind of betrays the human condition, which is that we’re all many-faced and imperfect. You know? You’re not that." - Man Repeller
How about some other questions, like: Why do we feel the deep need to know so much about people who in reality are complete strangers to us? And why do we feel a deep need to prove a life that is "digitally perfect" to those who are strangers to us? Would we as digital users still be able to showcase the same sort of confidence we have online in real life if we were to strip ourselves of our devices and apps and live streams? Would social media still be as popular if users weren't so curated and so heavily reliant on the comments and critiques of those who follow them? Today, what is more important? The influencers approval of their own content, or the approval of their content by others? Think about it, would the majority of people be sharing their lives and stories with each other if they didn't garner a like or a heart or whatever they will start calling it a year, 5 years, 10 years from now? When did we start to feel the need to feed our digital egos with so much affirmation? So many questions.
Don't get me wrong, I owe a lot of my career to social media and I for sure wouldn't be where I was if I didn't have the platforms to get my work out in the world for eyes that truly appreciate to see it. And not gonna lie, I do love that in today's day and age, I have so much content to dig through that nearly anything is at my fingertips. It's just so easy and convenient. But at the same time I sometimes feel very overwhelmed and over-bombarded (is that even a word??!?). It's almost like I wish a white wall would come down and we could have a blank slate once again and start over.
I know the social media world (and blogging) will never be like how it was 6, 5, even 4 years ago, but still hopefully aspects of how it was can still be kept alive today in the digital realm. For me personally, it was always mostly about getting my words and photos in front of the eyes of those who appreciated my work for the ideas and creative processes behind them. To start a conversation. To inspire someone else to create unique stories and pictures of their own. And now as I am older, I find myself being most proud of my work that I am behind-the-scenes on. I appreciate those who pay attention to what I decide to share even if it doesn't have my face slapped on it.
This line I got from Man Repeller exactly explains my feelings: "They’ve made our lives easier, but have they made our lives better?"
Maybe its time for us to quit getting ahead of ourselves and slow down a little. Absorb less in quantity, but more in quality. There's only so much we can take in at once. And really what do we get from a quick swipe down an Instagram feed? A flash of colors and shapes and beautiful faces that we may or may not remember a few seconds after said swipe. Thankfully, there are many influencers out there who I admire, and some who I can actually call friends, who change the game by keeping things real, keeping quality high and keeping things more personal than just another generic, perfectly lighted selfie (which I am guilty of posting every now and then). I want more peeks into real lives and inspirations of those willing to share and that have the potential to make a difference socially and creatively.
Maybe these thoughts will inspire you to extract a few more hours away from your phone each day and create some stories of your own that you are proud of, no matter who is listening, watching or reading. In today's age, where all eyes are now perpetually on you in some shape or form, it might be the biggest challenge to take a few steps back in the shadows and create without an audience. But it might just be the best challenge to overcome. Because there is no better or more flattering form of approval than the one you can give yourself. It starts from there.