Social (Isolating) Media


(Unfortunately,) We are caught up in a society where we need to constantly become stimulated and satisfied for the hot minute our achievements make it to our news feeds - whether that's a 24 hour story on Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, SnapChat, the list lingers on as the attraction to glamourize and excite becomes more prevalent on instant social media. 

I initially thought Gen Z (youth born 1995 and later) would be the hot victims aboard this self-glamourizing and socially-isolating train.

We are all caught up in it - our parents especially, who are lacking more and more in the social hosting department and trying ever so slowly to assimilate themselves by watching videos, looking at endless photo posts from across the globe, and taking selfies with goofy filters. 

Image:   Mashable

Image: Mashable

This is by far not a protesting cry, but a gentle foot being put down - it is our collective responsibility to pick up after ourselves. I try to catch myself all the time, when I casually want to exit from a social gathering and peer down at my phone at the endless notifications that are not even directed towards me. Your physical life does not get any better or worse by fulfilling the need to know, to check, to bury your own worries behind someone else's fairytale projection.

Has this become the norm? The minute someone does not carefully craft something that you want to hear (IRL), you begin staring at your phone, hoping for that hot minute that something (right then and there) is going to save you and your attention span.

I often get anxiety meeting people for the first time, assuming that they will constantly be checking their phones every 10 minutes between our physical interaction - it is mildly interesting that there is value finding individuals who mindfully put away their phones, place their notifications on silent, and are incredibly engaged in your present conversation. Rarity that is highly overvalued - and this shouldn't be the case. 

This should be the norm

Image: Pinterest

I do not deny my own preference and personal use of social media channels (updating Instagram stories when I can) as the social acceptance of usage is fairly high. Lately, I have witnessed a number of networking events where the main mode of congregating people together and engaging in a 'team-bonding' effect is through the use of our phones and social media. For something that is so transient and lost in 24 hours, wouldn't you want to create an experience that is more deeply personal - one that you can take with you after you leave the event?



Of course, that isn’t to say that social media channels doesn’t have its perks - it easier to brand ourselves and change our brand identities through our social media channels and ask people to follow us than to hand out business cards where the information may have already expired or be lost in coat pockets and wallets. 
I think we are more and more afraid of admitting how common and prevalent our social anxieties are.

Perhaps if we could become a little bit more present, a little bit less ignorant, a little less dependent on these devices, we could spend a little bit more energy really being able to genuinely connect, look each other in the eye, reach out with a greater open-mindedness, and notice what all our commonalities are as opposed to thinking we need to be better and greater than all those that we surround ourselves with. 

Image: Julia Hilao

Image: Julia Hilao

So on my end...

I am making an active recovery as a former social media addict, to reach out to people through personal calls, meet-ups and uninterrupted social interactions to overwrite my feeling of insufficiency and assumption that people can see all of my accomplishments, vulnerabilities, and life decisions through my social media channels. The reality is, our feeds are way too saturated with stuff, as much as we would 'double-tap' or acknowledge 'watching' a story - the likelihood of something staying in our mind's attention will probably disintegrate in the course of 10 minutes. 

And for those of my friends and colleagues who keep a fair distance with social, I applaud you and only wish you the calmest of sanity to keep it up - because gosh knows the game of becoming socially involved is becoming ever more inclusive and only until you jump onto the bandwagon will you really know what the hullaballoo is on everyone's minds.