The Issue with Social Sharing and the Selfie Culture
If a tree falls in the forest and we don't take a selfie with it or post it on Instagram, does it really exist?
No one can deny that selfies have become the new norm in how our society expresses itself today. And there's a whole industry that supports it too, providing selfie sticks, selfie filters, and a whole slew of accessories to help us look our best. Driven by social media, more and more of us are using this medium to represent ourselves to the world in a light in which we want to be seen. I wish, however, we would put as much thought into why we are doing it in the first place. While evolution is inevitable and, in many ways, necessary for human exploration, we still have to wonder, might we be taking our affinity for the selfie and social sharing a little too far?
I am an old soul. I still love paper and pen, physical books I can hold in my hands, meeting face-to-face, and listening to actual albums and live bands. I even had a flip phone up until fairly recently. So to say that the selfie and social media frenzy is not my cup of tea would be a gross understatement. But having said that, I do love the ability we have these days to reach so many more people with just the click of a mouse or a touch of a key. I just wish we all used that power a little more mindfully.
The desire to share ourselves and our experiences with others is not lost on me. So perhaps my issue with this whole thing is not the act itself but, rather, the motives that lay behind it. Do we post to really share, or are we just seeking validation and a boost to our egos? Rest assured, the answer does matter because it will determine how much true fulfillment we will receive and how genuinely happy we will be with our results.
You see, ego gratification can never fully be satisfied. Insecurity cannot be overcome by waiting for the approval of others. And we cannot be dependent on likes, follows, or shares for our self-esteem. Instead, we need to be more focused on our own message and what we actually want to convey. So instead of being addicted to receiving external validation, perhaps it's time for us to give that approval to ourselves.
Furthermore, we've had this "toy" for a while now, so maybe we need to start turning it into a tool by asking ourselves some deeper questions like, what value can we share, what can we teach, and what message can we convey that will benefit others in some meaningful way? Why are we posting in the first place and for whom? I know that higher consciousness thinking can be a buzzkill sometimes, but the more mindful we become, the happier we will ultimately be. It's like eating mild poison hidden in your food. You may not notice it and it may still taste good, but eventually it will make you sick. Instant gratification feels so good, I know, but is it really worth the cost? I guess it all depends on how much you indulge.
Over-analysis is not required here. We need not take everything so seriously. However, a healthy dose of introspection never hurt anyone. By knowing what motivates us we will realize what we truly hope to gain and whether or not our actions will indeed provide us with the results we seek. We need to wonder, will our actions really make us happy or will they only feed into our insecurities and an ego need that can never truly be appeased (or provide any real fulfillment)?
So let's put more substance out there, let's really think about why we are doing what we are doing, and let's be more mindful with what we choose to share. Furthermore, let's ensure that our motivations are coming from a genuine desire to express ourselves, share our experiences, and distribute our knowledge (in order to better the world), rather than an artificial need to fill a perceived lack or get an instant gratification fix.