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We live in a world that has taken our primal thirst for knowledge and diluted it into a simple hunger for relevance. We spend our lives checking feeds and posts, –I’m not above the irony that I’m writing this on a Blog – we read celebrity gossip magazines and crave insight into the lives of those we don’t know. We are so used to people releasing statements and breaking stories. We understand the marketing machine and how we receive our information yet we still thrive on it. I am not writing this as the beginnings of a large discussion on throw-away pop culture in a modern age. I am writing this to bring me to a more distressing topic. Social Media.

Sure I use social media. I am using a form of social media right now. My issues lie in the way we have now chosen to use it, as a platform to self promote and personally justify our own lifestyles. We have become so affected by the media and its gloss of un-reality that we ourselves are applying this to our own lives. We are attempting to project our own desired self-image onto the world.

Sure, this is momentarily gratifying. You watch your likes skyrocket and see your comments feed overflowing with adoration and praise. But we all use social media as voyeurs as well as promoters; surely we know how false the adoration is? How many times have you been carelessly flicking through a feed and Liked something because it vaguely resembled your views or a topic you may also have an opinion on? How many times have you seen an announcement of someone’s latest success and commented you support for their new Endeavour through gritted teeth, self-loathing and jealousy?

You have taken a Selfie right? You know how long this takes and how planned to perfection it is? You have walked around your room finding the perfect angle and twisted your body into the most contorted position to achieve the desired look? So why when someone else posts it do we automatically assume that it was a candid shot, capturing his or her natural beauty on a day-to-day basis?

Both sides of the issue are troubling. This First being the question of why we feel the need to make our lives look any different to what they are. We apply filters and effects to every picture. We write statuses such as ‘Having a really hard time at the moment, I hate my life’ and as the responses and concerns rack up enquiring about the issue there is rarely a confirming post about the cause or a resolution. We also post about ‘loving my life right now’ or ‘I’m so lucky. Cannot believe this is happening to me!!!’ I’m a great believer that success should be rewarded, however I take issue if you demand the praise and/or give it to yourself before anyone else has had the chance too. Why do we crave this attention?

The flip side to this is as a reader or a spectator of other people’s lives we don’t naturally experience joy. We read celebrity magazines to either aspire or to watch someone else fail. There is an entire tabloid industry profiting on the base instinct of humans, loving to watch other not succeed. As people attempting to evolve and find ourselves surely it can’t be helpful to continually read the success of our peers, day in – day out be it true or false?

I have suffered with anxiety for a long time. As I have been transitioning in terms of my career, I found that social media was like fuel to the fire for my insecurities.

One of my all time favorite posts was from a boy I have worked with on a performing job bin the past. He was informing everyone about his next show. The show itself was a nice job and would have been fun to be involved in. It was no different to probably 90% of his friend group. I am not diminishing his success but merely letting you know that it was not something unexpected and/or groundbreaking in the circle of people he would know. The post read…

‘I can finally share this amazing news, I’m so sorry I had to keep this from all of you but I was sworn to secrecy. But I can finally announce that I will be joining the ensemble cast of {INSERT SHOW NAME]’

I mean, who are you? It was as if Miss Spears was releasing a new album or a Kardashian had endorsed a Lip-gloss. This confidence and delusion that we were all waiting with baited breath for – after presumably hearing rumors through the tabloids and waiting for an official announcement – was ridiculous. The prose in which were used did, however send me into a spiral of self-doubt considering my own life choices. I immediately started racking my brain to find something I could equally release, as my own breaking news in order for people to see how aspirational my life was turning out to be.

I have used ‘We’ throughout this article because I have been on either side. I have abused social media to self promote and gain small ounces of praise to feed my ego. I have also spent far to much time scoring through page after page of self involved propaganda. The rules of which was that i would feel awful about myself. I now use social media as a means to speak to friends on the other side of the world. I try to only share and post things that express something important to me or something I feel needs to be seen my many.

The only public expression of my personal thoughts, life and feelings are within this site and I hope you understand that this is as self-deprecating as it is self-empowering.

I do believe in balance.

M.J

I have suffered with anxiety for a long time. As I have been transitioning in terms of my career I found that social media was like fuel to the fire of my insecurities.

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