Often times we find ourselves in an internal struggle between the need for a heavily materialistic lifestyle and staying true, understanding that this shit actually doesn’t matter. With 24/7 social media at our fingertips, our priorities have shifted.
I just turned 27 and I’ve lived without social media for half of my life, ~AIM~ being the first platform introduced in junior high. (That’s AOL Instant Messenger for all you youngblooods.) This connected classmates and neighbors, and was a new way to chat to friends, strangers, and even robots. (SmarterChild anyone?) Myspace then became king around 2004 for me. (WHAT do you mean I’m not in your top 8, Chrissy?)
We then moved to Facebook in 2006 and this was a more *MaTuRe* platform for the sophisticated college student – which of course us in high school had to get in on. Twitter then hit me in 2009 as a college sophomore; it was different, personal. Celebrities could actually tweet whatever they wanted, which was a refreshing change from the heavily calculated responses to the press we only heard prior. And finally, in the timeline of media, we have Instagram, which it’s a love/hate from me. (Simon Cowell voice).
The internet wins when we are connected in ways that would never be possible without it, when a photo sparks inspiration, when you organically feel some type of way from something you see or hear. The goal of advertising is to spark an emotion, pull heart strings, which then prompts you to connect to the message, take action, and then buy the product. Social media is not much different than the psychology of advertising.
“WE ARE CONSUMERS. WE’RE THE BY-PRODUCTS OF A LIFESTYLE OBSESSION.” -FIGHT CLUB (1999)
I was lucky. I had a childhood of razor scooters and faced that struggle of dial up internet (Mom! Get off the PHONE.) I had to actually talk to people. Yikes. My fear now is that kids that are growing up on social media won’t fully comprehend the value of human quality and interpersonal relationships. And how could they?
We are products of our environment. ‘We are consumers. We’re the by-products of a lifestyle obsession.’ Fight Club (1999). So who are we to blame the up and coming leaders of the future? We created this. This is what we ordered. Screw the Olympics, getting likes and followers are now the biggest competition in town. (Especially this town, LA.) Tits and ass get views – post it. A car this isn’t mine – post it. #blessed. Found myself at a sick house party with a view – post it.
The notifications give us a high like no other, you feel a sense of validation. What’s missing though is that in these moments of actual cool shit, we’re neck deep in our phones. What social media sometimes fails to do is demonstrate the reality that is darkness. Raw reality. Perception of ourselves is based on ourselves, so of course we’re going to show that we’re the flyest, baddest, and most desirable. Everyone promotes themselves as a brand. What needs to be understood though is that this alternate reality doesn’t always ring true.
What happens beyond the followers? You got the decimal in your follow count. Dope – now what? Yes, this could lead to opportunities. Hey, maybe even endorsement deals promoting teeth whitening and tea! And thats cool, do you. What is beyond though? We have to understand that while it’s great to be appreciated and liked, we can’t isolate the value of our truth, of what/who is in our hearts; engraved in our souls. Human interaction is fleeting, especially with kids growing up now (whether they realize it or not) so don’t forget the physical, and definitely not just in a sexual sense.
Be nice to your family (they support you more that you know), reconnect with old friends, hug your nephew (and not just for a selfie). These are things of value. Revel in it – this matters. When you’re on your deathbed, the guy that likes your selfies across the country and your favorite celebrity who you’ll go to WAR for in the comment section – they won’t be there. Don’t forget to live in YOUR moment with the people you’re surrounded by. Understand the difference. Remember: Comparison is the thief of joy.
Just because someone is worshipped on social media and are #GOALS, doesn’t change the fact that their mom is sick, their brother hits the bottle, or whatever their personal case may be. Social media only shows a small portion of someone, so don’t let someone’s account make you feel any less of the person you are. Everyone has skeletons in their closet. Know your worth and hold yourself at high value.
Also, just because someone likes your pics doesn’t mean you owe them your world. They tapped their thumb twice on a phone, that’s not enough effort to win you. They betta WORK – never forget your worth. You don’t need to conform. Live your life and passions with all of your being, and do something you love for a CAUSE and not an APPLAUSE. The rest will follow. You are enough.