I often wonder if I missed school on the day they were teaching everyone about social media. Does my lack of want or inability to gain any substantial following on a social media platform make me less of a human in these odd, modern times?
I just finished watching a new documentary on HBO, “Fake Famous.” It has left my head filled with a lot of thoughts and just as many questions.
Sometimes, and I have a recorded history of this, I’ll find myself waking up convinced that I too have it in me to really try at this social media thing. In an instant I have myself believing that if I could just post the right photo, then people might actually take the time to read my writing.
I’ll find myself very quickly entrenched in the rabbit hole of my thoughts. Perhaps even, I’ll tell myself, this one post could very well lead to getting published! An article? In my head, in those moments, the gloriously absurd possibilities are endless. For that day, and sometimes this delusion will even last a few weeks, I’ll find myself planning out posts. Every like from one of my measly 200 and something followers gives my weird, insecure brain a little zap of dopamine. Then, as quickly as I awoke with my inauthentic dreams of influencing, I’ll find myself in the midst of a sort of miniature spiritual awakening. I’ll think about the very necessary post I’ll need to make that day, for engagement’s sake, and in the same thought I’ll laugh as I come to from the notion that I care.
I do not care. Society just tells me I’m supposed to care.
Sure, like I said, the little likes from people on the other end of a screen make me happy for a second. I know it’s not real. I like to believe I’m aware – but it doesn’t matter. I still experience the fleeting moment in which I believe this inauthentic bullshit means something.
I’d say the pandemic amplified this feeling. And in a way, it also did the opposite. It gave us more reason, more opportunity to step away from our screens. I wonder how many of us have actually been taking advantage of our rather unique situation. Personally, I find myself oscillating between a place in which I feel quite wholesome and productive. Using my unemployed time to try and do things I wouldn’t normally set aside time for. Things I actually really enjoy and should be prioritizing. I made a sourdough starter, finally got a sewing machine and have been creating more than I really ever think I have. I find myself outside more too. On the other end of this, I’ll have a day or days where I don’t go much further than my couch. Everything feels too heavy and nothing feels worth it.
On those days, I’ll scroll through my phone wondering how in the world are all of these other people getting by so well? Are they really?
After we finished “Fake Famous” this evening, my partner and I found ourselves in the midst of a discussion on why this matters. Both of us have a pretty strong curiosity around mental health and social media poses a lot of new questions around how our brains work and how it’s changing the way our brains work.
You have to ask yourself, how is social media shaping us in ways we’re not yet aware of? What is this doing to our youth who are growing up with social media, whose aspirations include TikTok star and Instagram influencer?
There’s a ton of sides to it I guess, good and bad, but to me, it feels like all of those angles are outweighed by the darkness of social media. The underlying foundation that these companies are in it for the money, not for your body confidence, or your most recent vacation.
Is the weight of our voices lessened when the platforms we use to share pieces of ourselves, incite as much violence as they do love? It’s tricky. But the obvious truth is that technology, and social media as a part of it, are a snowball rolling down the steepest mountain, gaining momentum and volume as they barrel their way through anything that disrupts the path.
As much as I want to convince myself that I want to hide, I also want to share myself with the world. I find myself feeling envious of those who are bold enough to post such intimate details of their life so often, and yet in a lot of cases people are sacrificing privacy, presence for likes and sponsorship deals. I guess I’m finding myself at a precipice of curiosity. Dipping my toe into sharing just a glimmer of my voice, not with the hope of actually getting likes, but more because I just want someone to read my words. honestly. It’s still a bit vapid but I’d like to think a desire to share my voice because I believe I have something to say is a far cry from the girl in my memories. I don’t want to hide behind images, I want to rise to meet my words.