The thing about the internet…

Social media. *Backs into a corner as generation Y and post-millennials come out, guns blazing* I feel like touching on this subject is like poking a giant rabid dog with a stick. I know, I know this debate is as good as ‘beating a dead horse’ (definition: to bring up an issue that has already been concluded; something that’s considered pointless) at this point but oh look! I’m going to talk about it anyway, because, social media plays a monstrously huge role in our lives. I mean, you are reading this post right now aren’t you? And pray tell, how did you get here? 🙈 *note the sarcasm*

What actually prompted me to share my views on all this was a blog  post my friend Souparni (souparniroy.wordpress.com) wrote a little while back 🙂 I could definitely relate.

Let me backtrack a little. It’d be oh so wrong for me to generalize my entire generation as social media addicts because that is simply not true.

Social media in itself, is not inherently bad. In fact, if you ask me, the number of positives outweigh the negatives. It’s what you make out of it that makes it either good, or bad. You alone. Whether you simply use social media, or let social media use you is completely up to you. I’m pretty sure the whole Essena O’Neill controversy taught us that (whatever happened to that girl anyway?)

The debate that it isn’t real life is both true and false. I mean, real live people sit behind computer/phone screens, real live thoughts channeled by hands formed the words on your screen.

Not everyone you see online is a faker. Sure we create these one-sided pictures of our lives, but who wants to post a picture let alone take one on the worst of days anyway? No one wants to have pictures rivaling those of Kim Kardashian’s crying face floating around for posterity 🙈 sadly, its these one-sided pictures that are so misleading, an air of authenticity is lost, the very authenticity and honesty that would make us feel more connected to each other.

A few questions to ask yourself if you are a social media user:

-When was the last time you spent at least one whole day social media free (I’m talking the whole lot of it, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube…)

-Would you still be bothered with these social media platforms if there were no likes and followers involved?

-What would you do if you woke up one day and the creators of these sites deleted them? (I heard that’s what happened to Vine anyway, RIP).

I personally have a love-hate relationship with the internet. I joined Twitter in 2010, then Facebook, Tumblr, then Insta in 2013 (I used it as a personal picture-diary on private for over a year before letting people I knew in real life find it and vice-versa) and then there’s Snapchat, which I have successfully avoided like the plague because I can only handle so much. Add trying to maintain a blog and a YouTube channel and it becomes a little intimidating and overwhelming at times, no matter how much I genuinely enjoy it.

It gets to me.

When the raging headaches and comparison games (people my age out there winning an Olympic gold medal here, or a Grammy there, or singlehandedly transforming their communities, like, damn what am I doing with my life???) and the green eyed monster of jealousy rears it’s ugly head, that’s when I know that I need to take a step back. When my mood fluctuates in accordance with the number of likes that appear (or don’t) on the screen, then that’s when I know that I’m fucked I really need to take a step back.

It happens (way way waaay) more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe delusional people like Essena O’Neill and I need to be banned from the internet. *insert awkward/nervous laugh*

I’ve very-nearly deleted all my social media platforms countless times (Facebook told me it’d take actual monthsmonths for my account to be deleted, their way of saying “Nice Try”). But I never actually do it. Because I want to see what my friends are up to, I want a quick way of finding out what’s going on in the world around me, I wanna laugh at silly posts, I wanna discover new music I’d otherwise never have heard about, I want a means of sharing what I LOVE to do most – my writing and my music.

It’s all a work in progress, for me, anyway. Finding that ever-elusive balance.

Even if you do swear on your life that social media has no hold over you, I challenge you to go technology free for at least 24 hours, so that your head’s full of your own thoughts for once and not everybody else’s.

Sometimes everyday I reach a point where I can’t even manage that and it’s truly terrifying.

It’s weird to think that once you’ve shared something online, it doesn’t belong to you alone anymore, it belongs to everyone else too. To rate, to judge, to draw deductions from, to click ‘like’ on or scroll past.

In conclusion, please do be careful about what you post. As much as it isn’t your responsibility how other people interpret what you post, you have to acknowledge the fact that you do hold a measure of influence over those around you. You have the power to inspire someone/make someone laugh or smile/add another destination to their bucket list or rip their confidence to shreds in an instant.

Of course it is pretty obvious that Insta models and celebs don’t have our best interests at heart posting all those dumbass hair-care-gummy-bear ads, and I’m sure your beach pictures probably aren’t inspiring anyone to get up and go change the world. I mean, we’ve gotta exercise a good measure of discernment here on what the purpose of people’s posts are (to entertain? To educate? To sell you something? To simply show you how much of a good time they’re having? But are you really? There’s nothing wrong with that.)

I guess that’s where the mystery lies; we never really know the full story behind a picture. It could just be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get scenario and nothing more, or it could be the complete opposite.

There’s a lot to say about this topic, but for now, it ends here.
What’s your relationship with the internet like?

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