Few weeks ago, a very good friend of mine and I (along with our husbands) started this crazy conversation, where none of us actually took a clear side… You know… We all finished our sentences with things like: I don’t know, maybe, I am not sure what do you think? It was the most unsure and disoriented discussion I’ve ever had lol. The topic started when she asked me why I am not active on Snapchat, and I decided to answer her with another question –note to self: never answer a question with another question, hahaha!- Why do we post things on social media? I was convinced (and I still kind of am) that sharing things online is a form of being boastful, a thing we do to show off. No matter what we post we are still showing people, who are interested enough to watch, that we are doing something, eating something, buying something, looking at something and we want other people to like it, in other words approve of it (the only way I can think of it!). My friend didn’t completely disagree yet she thinks that we post because we love ourselves because we want to share beautiful things with the world. A beautiful, rosy way to think of it. I, on the other hand, am too morbid in my own head, to share the same opinion, so I had to dig deeper, much much deeper. It took me weeks and weeks of reflection and thinking, to finally get my answer. So, brace yourselves and buckle up…. Here it comes!
You know how we always hear of the internet as: The Virtual World? How the internet isn’t the real world? Well I would love to start by scrapping those existing thoughts from the picture. Internet IS the real world NOW, it has become so, years ago. We might have not noticed because it was done gradually, but think about it: how many times you have looked someone up on Facebook or Instagram or even Google, to see what are they like, what are they into, what do they like and dislike? How many times you went for an interview and were damn sure that the interviewer will look you up online before they make a decision on whether they will hire you or not? How many times you checked a potential boyfriends’ social media, to know whether this relationship is going to work or not? The time we spend behind our screens is changing our lives, it is changing who we are. The internet has become a mutual approval machine, where we show the best of us, and we wait for people to like it, and we do the same for other people too. In other words, we are changing who we are by only displaying what we feel is good enough to be shared, and these people will make the assumption that we are what we post. Think about it, among the 25 billion things you do in a day, only few of them find their way into your social media, and that has now become more important in defining who you really are, as opposed to all the other things that go by unnoticed in your daily life, again because they are not good enough to be shared and also because we simply can’t post 25billion things a day!! Let’s imagine that on social media there was no option to like or comment on pictures/status or anything we post, how boring will that be? Do you think we will indulge in it as much as we do now? We create this virtual persona that we have some kind of control over, and we try to maintain it. If this doesn’t change who we are, I am not sure what does!
How many people we have on Facebook, for example that we are friends with, we like their pages, pictures and status yet when it comes to the real world, we can’t even stand them? We all have at least one of these people in our world, don’t we?
I say the reason I dislike the virtual world and I am always very careful with what I post, is because I am scared of losing my true self. It took me more than 27 years to get on the right path and I am not ready to lose all that. This is why I am constantly looking into my feed, my old posts, my old pictures and status to check if they were really me, if they really define who I am, if they weren’t some kind of fake Ouiam, that I want the world to believe that it is the real thing. I still delete old posts because I don’t feel they are truly “ME”, I have to admit that this doesn’t happen that often now, and that’s simply because I am very conscious every time I hit the “Share/post” button. I guess this is still possible with Facebook and Instagram however, when it comes to Snapchat, because we know that the story will disappear in 24hours, we are automatically encouraged to post anything and everything, which takes away the little control we can still have over it, just like we tend to buy tons of things when they are on sale, not because we really need them but because they are on SALE.
I share my story using social media because it has given me-and everyone else using it- a voice. We were voiceless before and could never share thoughts and opinions with everyone else, because it was simply impossible to have that big of a platform in the actual world; However, now we can spill all our thoughts, feelings, emotions, opinions all over the social media without limits, we are sometimes judged harshly for it, and again this is because social media gives a voice to voiceless people, so everyone is allowed to participate whichever way they please.
This is why I –and again this is my own personal opinion- don’t use Snapchat, it might work for me one day, when I am absolutely sure that I will not lose who I am and confuse it with who I want people to think I am, then maybe I will consider it, but for now I am fine with just the incredible amount of distraction the internet is happily offering!!