“Do it for the gram!” – the phrase that apparently justifies buzz-worthy behaviors that end up plastered across the top of our social media newsfeeds for a couple of likes and some memories.
Social media. LOL. Where to begin? From those people who have built up a significant following because our lives just don’t interest us nearly as much as those we don’t know to stalking our friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s fancy vacations — there is no denying we are a bit addicted.
Personally, my thing is #food. I probably follow more food accounts on Instagram than people, and when I see a picture of food that looks appealing, I always try to find out where it’s from – (although, there’s nothing like the disappointment when I find that huge milkshake with a doughnut on top is actually from Australia). I add it to my list of restaurants I want to try, and when I finally get there, I always take a picture. After all, did you really get that fancy sushi burrito if you didn’t get a picture of it?
In today’s age, it is all about recording the experience to share online instead of simply enjoying the moment.
Instagram and other social media sites have changed the way we live our lives because unfortunately, they consume so much of our free time. Commuters scroll through their feeds on their way to work, and with Snapchat, we can record the amazing concert we’re at so our friends can live vicariously, or that we can re-live the experience for later on – though Apple is changing the game so we will no longer be able to do that.
Here’s the thing. Too often we forget that while we’re busy recording and choosing the perfect filter in order to ‘enhance’ that moment, life is passing us by. We’ve found ourselves watching concerts from our phone screens, even though we’re physically there. Instead of appreciating a meal, it’s become all about getting the perfect shot to fit in with the #FoodPorn.
I’m guilty of letting social media consume my free time. I find myself jumping on any opportunity to beef up my Instagram page — whether it’s from a sunset picture or a selfie that was taken months ago — just to stay active on my social accounts. But do people really even notice? Probably not.
However, social media isn’t all bad either. It’s allowed networks, newspapers, magazines, and even corporations expand their reach to connect and interact with their target audiences in a new way. It’s become the main channel for sharing content, building a following, and even turning a profit. Many industries (fashion, travel, beauty, etc.) have seriously mad mega bucks on these free platforms.
It’s easy to forget that people pick and choose what they post on social media and that these picture-perfect, edited photos are only a mere fraction of a person’s life. Sure, social networks allow us to have some sort of permanent, ideal memory of the experiences we have in our lives, but what’s the use if we don’t have the tactile memories of what it was actually like because we were too busy recording it?
It’s okay to disconnect from social media for a while, living life outside the Instagram square — doing things because you want to, not because it’ll generate over 100 likes or shares on Facebook. With less of social media on your mind, you’ll realize how much more liberating life feels, and how much more there is to appreciate in the world around you.
As for me, I’ll still be taking pictures of my food before I eat it or capturing the different hues of the sunset, but it won’t be for someone else’s feed — they are there to serve as a reminder that I’ve experienced life outside of the digital versions I see online, and trust me — it’s a lot better.