Sunday 8 November 2015

My Take on Social Media (Part 2)

Everyone is putting their piece into the giant jigsaw that is the debate on social media, and I won't be the first, and certainly not the last, to take my opinions and type them up for all to see and evaluate. This is actually a follow up to my first post (see it here), where I discussed certain platforms and asked: does removing an online presence have the ability to remove your social presence? It was a tough question to tackle, but I'm not sorry I embarked on it, because deactivating and reactivating my Facebook account has produced results that shocked me, but also didn't shock me at the same time.

First of all let me start by saying that this isn't a rant specifically about Facebook. I think Facebook is a useful tool, which allows us to connect and remain contact - a pretty impressive and important feature of technology. This post is about social media in general, but Facebook has mainly been the target of my mini experiment, purely because that's where I feel the hub of online social life lies.

I deactivated my Facebook over four months ago, because I was tired of having my time consumed by (what I thought was) a pointless app on my phone. I knew that it was a great way to keep in contact, but I was of the thought process that if anyone wanted to include me, they'd find other methods of doing it. How naïve I was, because after my little four month experiment, I can safely say that in a society overwhelmed by technology and everything related to it - social media isn't budging, and its something we need to adapt to, instead of adapting it to ourselves.

When I first scrapped the whole shebang, I felt so freed - it may have just been psychological but I honestly felt like I had more time on my hands - a few minutes here and there adds up, and before I knew it I had extra time to polish off blog content, and sped through more books than I usually did. For the first two months I was totally unfazed by the fact that my profile no longer existed - I was happy with my real life friends and family, and didn't feel the need to tap into an online world outside of college, where all the people I knew glorified their lives.

(Also, I know you might think I'm a hypocrite for remaining online in other ways, but hey ho we can't all be perfect. I wanted to see the results of removing myself from a personal platform - I only kept friends and family on Facebook, whereas Twitter and my blog have such a different variety of followers. It's different, at least in my opinion.)

I want to give credit where its due - my nearest and dearest kept me included at all times. But for the most part, not being online started to take its effects and I kept not being invited to events - I'm only human, and when FOMO turns into AMO ('actually missing out', I just made that up on the spot soz) I started to waver, my strong mentality cracking when I saw instagram the mornings after parties and listened to personal jokes in school. I'm a stubborn person, and I hate going back on things I've said - but I've changed my mind. I thought Facebook wasn't necessary in a social environment, but it is; at least at my age, where everything is a bit less permanent and up in the air.

In answer to my original question, I would say that at least partially, the withdrawal of an online presence does slightly retract your social presence, no matter how much effort you put in. The existence of a messenger app where you can contact all your acquaintances all at once is convenient, and its way too much effort to pick up the landline and give someone a call. I love the internet, but it can promote laziness and neglect to relationships. I dreaded opening up the app again, partly out of embarrassment, but also partly because I desperately want to encourage the application of effort again. Gone are the days where you can hide in your room all weekend and go back on Monday feeling totally a member of the gang. Social media has drawn us all in and changed the way we see communication.

Another thing I couldn't keep from noticing is the amount of times I looked at someone and thought they looked completely different from a profile picture or cover photo. Is there some kind of magic formula to get a satisfactory number of likes? Is beauty suddenly defined as the mental capacity to pick the right filter and choose a funny caption? I don't really know where my beliefs lie in the whole Essena O'Neill discussion, since some of the time, I do agree that identity can be removed in order to be liked online, whether in the literal sense, or a number displayed on a page. We all do it, heck I know that I have to make sure my selfies are acceptable before I post them! It's so interesting to me to read everyone's thoughts on this. I haven't really picked my side of the fence yet, but I know that there are some things I've made my mind up on. Just because I posed for a picture, or collaborated with a brand, doesn't mean that I'm fake. We all make our lives a little bit glossy, because no one wants to post a photo on days when our hair is way flat, or when we have a breakout. That's human nature, its what we do (and isn't a result of social media) and editing out the nasty parts doesn't make us unreal. When a movie is made, or a book is written, you don't leave in the dodgy scenes or the spelling mistakes. There's definitely a difference between glorifying and making yourself appear perfect, and posting photos that you want to look back on and feel good about. I know that on my blog I am 100% myself, or at least 100% myself with the content that I feel comfortable sharing. Telling you about a horrific day, or showing you what I look like after I've bawled my eyes out isn't within my comfort zone, and sticking to that zone doesn't make me fake.

What's your opinion on all of this? Link me your posts because sitting down and reading them is my favourite thing to do at the moment. Yay for spreading awareness and feeling like we can have a say!

Emily xo

No comments

Post a Comment

© A Small Distraction. All rights reserved.