By Claudia Lee
Social media has inspired a cultural shift in communication – one that stretches far beyond how we connect as individuals. Now, it’s about how we communicate with the world at large, and more importantly, with ourselves.
What we post says a lot about us, whether we know it or not. When we post pictures we do not ask ourselves what the deeper meaning behind the picture is. We mindlessly post, because I mean, it’s just a picture. Right?
When we post selfies we are doing it, whether consciously or not, to bolster our self-esteem. When we post it doesn’t come across like this—we’re just bored, there aren’t many things going on in our lives, we look good, so why not? These reasons aren’t valid. We don’t think of how it will make us seem. Those who have many selfies or photos of just themselves might seem vain even if they really aren’t. I am guilty of this. When we have excessive photos of ourselves it can come across like we’re shoving down people’s throats how pretty or cool or worldly we are.
What if every time before we post we ask ourselves, “Is this a moment I’ll want to remember? Or is this just any other moment — another sunrise, another selfie, another party?” Should we really be recording every moment — especially the ones that aren’t special?
What if we didn’t have social media? How would our lives look? Would we be happier? Would we live more in the moment? Would we pay more attention to our thoughts and the people around us? I think the answer to all these questions is yes. When we aren’t so busy keeping up with other people’s lives we may be able to step back and examine our own. Social media is superficial depending on how we use it. We all post things that make our lives look more interesting, fun, enhanced than it really is. We highlight the good, mute out the bad. We build our image through things we post — communicating and projecting out to the world. Is our profile a reflection of who we are? Or at least a part — the good part?
Social media has its pros. It links the world together, helps spread ideas, promotes campaigns, updates fans on music and tour dates, but is it for the better? Is social media — like everything else — okay in moderation?
Think of the people you follow who went to this year’s Coachella. Most, if not all, were sharing many videos and photos. Coachella does qualify under the “Is this a moment I’ll want to remember?” standard, but many pictures were of outfits people wore. Or selfies. How great would it be if we went to things like this without thinking, “I wonder what kind of picture I should post for today. Do I want to post a picture of myself in my cute outfit? Or one of me and my friends so I seem fun? Or do I post one of (insert whoever is performing) on stage?” These things don’t matter. They shouldn’t matter. Witness this moment for yourself. Stop being so caught up with what you’ll share with the world. You can’t share a moment if it’s never yours, and it’ll never be your moment until you stop wondering what you’ll post.
We should start posting things that mean something to us. Photos we would get developed and framed. Photos with significance. A photo of a time and place you’ll want back years from now. What if we treated all the photos we posted as pictures we’d hang in our living room? Would we really want all those selfies hanging up? Would we choose a picture of us and our friends just hanging out at someone’s house on any other weekend, or one of us all of us dressed up, walking the city streets on New Year’s Eve?
Sometimes we post things just because they’re pretty, or because they’ll build our aesthetics and persona. Maybe we shouldn’t do that. Maybe the stuff we post that are meaningful will do just that, because things always seem to work out when we aren’t trying so hard.