Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Social Media and Our Collective Voice



This modern world can be tough to navigate. The internet has given us many blessings. However, It has also made our lives feel as though we are often living under a microscope.

It is easy to look at the social media posts of others and feel as though our lives are small in comparison. Facebook and Pinterest feeds of perfectly decorated and tidy homes, Instagram photos of lovely beach vacations and international travel and Twitter feeds full of witty quips, all of which often leave us feeling as though our lives aren’t quite living up to the lives of those around us. It is ever so easy to forget that these perfectly curated moments on social media never show the full and true picture of someone’s life.

The ever-present false perfection of social media tends to cause me to spiral into an unhealthy and unable to be won comparison game. My inner critic feeds off of this game and can always find more and more ways in which I lose- I’m not as thin as everyone else in their perfectly styled photos, my house doesn’t seem to be as clean as the photos of everyone else’s stylish and tidy abodes, my children’s birthday parties could be much more fanciful and full of handmade decorations and homemade gourmet food…It is never ending.

However, even beyond the comparison game, social media has a way of leaving me with a sadness hangover. There are so many that use their social media feeds as a way of venting all of their problems, worries and hate of the world. It is hard to scroll through Facebook or Twitter without a sickening feeling that the world is full of deep sadness and hate. I have taken to unfollowing those with a persistent doom and gloom but, if I know the person personally, end up feeling a bit sad about doing so.

I know that taking breaks from social media, attempting to control my feeds so that they are full of positivity, kindness and a willingness to make a change in the world and reminding myself constantly that no social media account shows a person’s life in it’s entirety is helpful to me.

Beyond the unhealthy comparisons that social media can encourage, as an introvert I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have a voice in this world even as my voice in person may fail me. I am grateful for the like-minded friends that I have met, whom I never would have known without social media. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a voice of kindness and encouragement, even when the collective voices on social media seem to be dreadfully discouraging.

If you add up the number of friends and followers on your social media accounts, how many people do you have collectively following you- Hundreds? Thousands?

Can you imagine standing on a platform with all of those people standing in front of you waiting for you to speak into a microphone- listening to the words you speak, the pictures you will share?

In this modern world, we each have a voice. How are you choosing to use yours?



If each of us was to vow to use our voices less for complaining and spreading hate and chose, instead, to be the collective voice of compassion and honesty, can you imagine the change in humanity? The human condition is one of contagion. It is not only illness that can spread-hate, love, shame, kindness…everything is contagious. As much as we like to stand in our individuality, the truth is that we are each connected. Social media has connected us as never before, without boundaries of location, time and space. The way that we use this massive connection, this massive opportunity to bring humanity together is completely up to us. I empower you think before you share.

“You are what you share.”

17 comments:

  1. This is so well written and so true!

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  2. I'm doing everything in my power to use my voice to teach and leave a legacy for my children. I wish I had had this desire in my early 20s because I could have done so much more, and been so much better. It's rare that a blog post speaks to me, thank you!

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    1. That is a beautiful way to live your life. Thank you, Saebbe!

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  3. Beautifully written and something that we all should strive to do, be the change you want to see in the world right? Thank you so much for writing this.

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  4. Very thought provoking! I agree with you on every point! It's a very odd world we live in today. Like you say there are so many positive aspects of the internet but I also feel nostalgic for the time when we just got on with living our lives, traveled for ourselves, took pictures no one else would ever see, decorated our homes the way we truly enjoyed. I feel like social media makes other people's opinions too important. It's a tough balance.:)

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    1. It certainly is a tough balance. Thank you, Colleen!

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  5. My blog is about "living life better" and I try to use my social media to reflect that. I don't gloss over the hard stuff-addiction, disease, beliefs, etc. But I hope that I am helping others to become a bit better, to learn from us, there is always a silver lining. #livelifebetter , life can always be better, we can always help each other, lend a hand, share a smile. Some days are harder than others, but when I force myself to post something positive it helps me to be better too!

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    1. Well, your IG feed often brightens my day! :)

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  6. You are what you share. I love this. I work as a school counselor, so I understand this phrase clearly. I preach it to my kids when they come in crying about something they've posted on social media. I try to use it to motivate/encourage others.

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    1. That is so wonderful, Deirdre! Keep changing lives!

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  7. I totally agree with you. I think I accepted a while ago that social media just isn't real. It's about as real as a scripted reality show I guess. I like to imagine that outside the frame of the photo of the perfectly decorated bedroom, is a pile of laundry that needs to be put away. :) We just can't see it! I follow a lot of DIYers and lifestyle bloggers. So, my IG feed is usually just beautiful. I did have to limit my FB feed to pics of my friends' kids and puppies tho. I started to get really down when I opened up my FB account. That's not cool. Thank goodness for filters! I just filtered out a lot of the political "discussions" that were actually just nasty arguments.

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  8. I feel this way too sometimes. I just try to remember how much work is behind my posts and pictures, it's deceiving!

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  9. I love this. I found that I have to remind myself often that people generally tend to post the "best parts" of their day on social media so we only get a glimpse into their real lives. If everyone was as perfect as their facebook profile made them out to be we would have a completely different world!

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  10. I have learned in recent weeks that you really have to take a break from Facebook because you could get overwhelmed very easily. There are some people who have started using social media as a lifeline, and they have to post from the minute they get up to they retire, every aspect of their lives. I needed to take a break and regroup.

    Joey @ AmerikaLink

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