look up

July 20, 2017 • 35 comments • 27051 views

I just watched this video that Aimee Song put up on her vlog and I was just like *jaw drop*. It was so brave of her to cry on tape and share that with the world, and it gave us a different perspective of what a social media influencer faces. What’s on the outside really isn’t always representative of what’s on the inside. After her post, apparently other influencers also came out and started confessing; some are depressed, some have no real relationships, some travel too much they don’t know who they are anymore, some are seeing therapists. And on their instagram with millions of followers, their happy selfies and gorgeous photos make us think they have the perfect life. It’s so ironic.

Honestly, I started reflecting myself. In fact, I always reflected before and reminded myself that life isn’t about social media only. Being who I am, I too feel a lot of pressure to post something everyday, to instastory everyday, to refresh comments every few minutes to see if there’s anything new. We all have this behaviour now and it’s become a norm in our culture. Honestly, I don’t think it’s bad if you can control it. But when you live for social media and always recording everything on your camera for your vlog, I think that can be dangerous.

I heard a story few months ago that a young girl asked her parents for money. Told them it’s for school. They gave the money to her. She lied to them. She used that money to go traveling because she wanted to travel and take nice pictures like Vivy Yusof. I was mortified. I felt responsible for her actions when really, I didn’t even know her!

I’ve written about this before that lives now are measured by how happy you look on social media, how many followers you have, how many like you get etc etc. When people don’t post for 3 days, their followers assume they’re either boring or in depression… or you know, obviously you’re dead. It’s a lot of pressure to keep up with postings everyday, especially if your instagram is the curated kind with nicely edited photos using real dinosaur cameras like the international bloggers who do this for a living. This is the world we live in today, the world where everyone looks down… at their phones.

Every event I go to, I see people instastorying, including me… “I’m here at the XX event and sitting next to so and so. Say hi, so and so!” and we wave to this screen that connects us to the rest of the world. More often than not, after we’ve posted that, the conversation with so-and-so also ends. It’s all so superficial and we have no more real connections with people. Young people now cannot carry conversations for longer than 15 seconds because that’s how long one insta story is! Young people now cannot read for longer than 7 seconds because that’s how long it takes to read maximum wordcount on a caption. The world is losing the real physical connection and virtual connection seems to be replacing it. Emotions are better expressed using emojis, people type HAHAHAH ROFL but they’re not even smiling at that time, people send kisses on whatsapp when they have never had physical contact with that person in real life. When you go to a personal and intimate affair like weddings, all you see now is phones going up recording around the ballroom, and the bride and groom even give you a hashtag for you to post things thus encouraging the sharing to public. Our lives are for social media these days.

On top of that, there is no more respect for privacy. Social media is there to facilitate and share, so you should be able to share what you want to. For me, I am active but I really do choose what I want to share and what I don’t. I hardly tell people my whereabouts (I usually post AFTER I’ve left the location for security reasons – that’s why I never like InstaLive, I think it’s really dangerous and people don’t realise it), I never tell people where I live, I never reveal my car plate number. So I get upset when people start instastory-ing me (and my kids especially) in real time and exposing my whereabouts without my consent. I met a few people who do this; one came up to me recently and say hiiii!! and I’ll say hi back and share a proper conversation genuinely excited to catch up etc, and then I realise her arm was up the whole time holding her phone because this is all being recorded on her InstaLive for her followers. I had no idea because I wasn’t told, and I felt uncomfortable with that. It’s fine if people ask first before they record you, but just to shove the phone camera in your face just to show people who they’re meeting and what they’re talking about… that’s just so odd…

Am I guilty of some of these above?

Absolutely.

Do I need social media in my life?

Absolutely.

Would I rather not have social media in my life?

Absolutely not.

So what do I do?

Like it or not, we have to ride the wave or else we will drown. Our world is too fast paced now so you need these technologies to keep up. But what we need to do is to realise we can consume social media, but don’t let social media consume us. I’m still posting curated content out of my own consent because I enjoy it. Yes, it’s also part of my job because I sell things, but I also do it willingly because I genuinely like it. But I’ve taught myself to control myself. I no longer refresh comments, I don’t feel the need to post if I don’t want to, I put my phone away during meals, I have proper conversations with people, I look at people in the eye when they talk to me, I look up a lot more now… and honestly, I never knew looking up could give a whole lot more meaning to life.

So guys, scroll away but always remind yourself not to compare yourselves to others, compliment people’s nice photos but never think their lives are perfect, take nice photos and videos but respect people’s privacy and ask permission, enjoy social media but never let yourself be pressured by it… and most importantly, look up and start living real life a bit more.

And by looking up, I don’t mean this ahhh….

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