Free Thoughts

Getting in touch with being out-of-touch: A rant on Social Media

"Aha!"As we are all aware of by now, we live in a digital age. Smart phones are basically glued to our hands; laptops and tablets seem to always be within arm’s reach: media is flat out everywhere. In fact, it’s more likely there to be technology or media around us than not. Just try and avoid it—pretty damn hard right? With all of this inundating media and technology, I ponder to myself:

What does this way of living do to us all?

I don’t have the scientific data to back this “theory” of mine, and frankly nothing I am about to share is “factual”—just my opinion—but it is something I truly believe to be occurring. More than likely, our dependencies on being up-to-date with the latest and greatest social media platform or smartphone app is causing us more anxiety than anything—hence forth my thoughts on my “Information Overload Theory”.

Personally, I find myself in a paradox: I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, yet I can’t stand social media—today’s most popular means of communication. It isn’t the staying-in-touch aspect I hate—actually, that’s the only aspect I do enjoy—rather, what I despise is the constant posting of our facade lifestyles, embellished with the perfect filter and shared to receive the most “Likes” or “Shares” we can garner. Every day feels like a competition: our posts walk the runway of the up-to-date feeds—whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.—in hopes to be the most admired; it makes me sick! All of this is causing body shaming, bullying, depression, ostracizing—you name it—and a whole lot of anxiety! It’s to the point where we can share how much we “love nature”, yet sit indoors and stare at our device while doing so. We’ll post or share pictures of “how fake people are” yet to be real just takes … well, being real! All of this information we share—most often trivial facts about people we really don’t need to know—is just too much; or as I put it, an information overload!

Unless you still cherish solitude and are able to cut yourself off from media, allowing free thoughts or just pure zen, we are constantly being told what to think—from everyone! I long to know what it was like to be in your twenties in the days before social media and constant connectivity; where people were able to be private and live their life without feeling the need to share an online scrapbook. I think it’s great that we are able to be connected, but when you really step back and look at what we consider connected, I feel we are more distant than ever. Social media, and anything alike, seem to be a scapegoat from actually living our lives united, and more of a charade of that—talk is cheap, let’s walk the walk!

Now, I made it clear from the start this isn’t of factual basis, but I share these thoughts because I experience them everyday first-hand. I hate social media, yet I still feel like I have to use it to even be relevant in society. I enjoy making art—music, writing, film—and in today’s world you must be on social media to share any of those, and, for the most part, should have a great deal of followers to even get your name out there in any of those fields. But, here I am, stuck with an “old soul” and disgusted with the change, yet forced to succumb to the way we do things. I share—once in a blue moon—a photo, or article I enjoyed, as if sending a flare into the sky from my hole in the ground: “I’M STILL ALIVE!” My small update in the exciting life of Charles Baker (ya right) to let everyone that doesn’t see me day-to-day know that I’m still kickin’, and what sort of adventures I’m on (most likely none).

I’m just rambling at this point, but the moral of the story is social media is here to stay—so I think—and I better get to liking it or else I’m screwed. I think we need to utilize it in a more efficient way, rather than in a compulsive behavior of scrolling and faking our lifestyles; constantly competing and striving for perfection—we are all imperfect humans! Let’s breathe, enjoy the simple things in life and slowly release ourselves from this odd addiction and anxiety-mongering media. I love to keep it old school: listen to music without lyrics that force me to think the artist’s thoughts; read a book that doesn’t have constant advertisement intermissions throughout its story; enjoy life without my phone or posting/sharing every step I make—for Christ sakes let’s just DO and LIVE, without POSTING for recognition. I think life would be much more fulfilling, and we’d be a lot more sane, and back to being social beings—but in REAL life!

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