Social Media And Seeing The World Through Filters

friends_3When you think back to when you were a child, what do you remember? I think of the moments where I could crouch down and stare at a snail with so much curiosity, and it would be exciting and intriguing. The trail of ants as they strongly lift food back home or the hours spent outdoors reading on the grass, lying under the trees, sinking my toes into the sand and going for bushwalks. There are days where I feel that Social Media, particularly Instagram, can be toxic rather than beneficial. I like sharing moments that made me feel happy, but I do think Instagram can be superficial at times, and I think it’s because photos tend to be more carefully taken, rather than the spontaneous childhood photos. I’ve felt the desire to delete my Instagram many times this year.

Privacy. Too much of anything is not healthy. It’s finding a sense of balance. As someone who cherishes their privacy, it’s important in finding that balance on what one chooses to share. I was reading an article from the National Geographic February 2018 Issue on surveillance. Now that we all hold a camera in the palm of our hands, and we are surrounded by cameras around us, on the street, in the store and perhaps in moments, we don’t realise. It may be a person watching us, or a camera we are not aware of. The frequency we use apps and post and share content, the more data we are giving away about ourselves.

Numbers. Our self-worth does not come from a number. This is something I struggled with for a very long time in regards to my weight. It doesn’t matter how tall, how much you earn, how many followers you have, how many likes, how many views, how many friends you have, how much you weigh… Your value in life comes from within. There is no external factor that can take over what is in your heart and mind. If we put our value and self-worth through others validation, we will never be happy. Your happiness ultimately comes from within. A person could be poor but be abundantly happy because they live a rich life through their relationships. A person could be rich in materials, but lack meaningful relationships in their life.

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Family and friends. The truth is, the majority of the time, I mostly share photos with my close friends and family. They are the ones I’ll be talking to on the phone and spending time messaging. When I think about Instagram, I think about how it’s not necessary for me to share certain aspects, but I think it’s having the ability to choose what we post. Which is why Instagram is ultimately just a snapshot, and we cannot judge a person solely from a snapshot. However, it’s interesting how with family, we don’t really need to think twice about what we send. At least I know I don’t. I’m sure many of us do this and check do I feel like I look okay in this picture before I post a picture on Instagram. I’m trying to care less about this, as our appearances are a small part of who we are and those who matter couldn’t care less about your physical appearance.

Perfection, mental health, and body image. Social Media is not a reality. I think this is important to remember. I think what I want to express is that it is only a snapshot, a second of a moment, a glimpse and sometimes a filter to be perceived a certain way. Many feeds on Instagram can look perfect and I’ve found one of the most damaging aspects is the admiration of people solely for their appearances, rather than their personality and their abilities. I really want to put it bluntly, because I think Instagram has been one of the apps that often causes many people to put physical appearances more highly, rather than intelligence, abilities, talents and so forth.

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Focusing on what’s important. I read a profound sentence the other day, which said: “What you focus on is how you will feel”. These words resonated so strongly because I think about any time I start feeling those emotions of anxiety, worry, and fear, it often comes from where my focus is. It may be to do with something in the future or something out of my control. Whereas, when the focus is on what I can change and I’m present, then that’s where feelings of motivation, positivity, and creativity come. I think the sentence also relates to how you spend your time is essentially the life that you create for yourself.

The good and the bad. Social Media is great for keeping in touch with family and friends. Messenger, Wechat, Line, and Whatsapp are the apps that I use for messaging, as well as the occasional emailing and texting. I remember when MSN chat was also popular. You can share moments, read the news, stay updated and keep in touch no matter where you are in the world. The online world can be very noisy at times, and it’s good to spend time offline with the phone switched off and out of reach. There have been many times I’ve almost shared something, and even written the caption, but then I realized, I just want to keep that special memory to myself.

Art by Eri Kamei

10 thoughts on “Social Media And Seeing The World Through Filters

  1. I was late to social media and IG. When I first posted I just uploaded great travel photos and misc. Then I discovered #365daysofgratitude and it gave me purpose on it. I’m on my 3rd year and it’s nice because I’m just following people who are trying to remember to be grateful and it’s not IG perfect shots. In fact, I stopped following picture-perfect travel accts. It was too depressing and I knew it wasn’t real.

    Interestingly, a few days ago, my BF and I were in a cafe near the tourist part of town and we watched these two French girls take photos after photos, selfies, each other, posing, with the food, in different positions in the restaurant like nonstop. My BF said, “I never realized how vain women are.” It was insane how much time they dedicated to getting those perfect shots. But this is common practice in Asia. I think one year Bangkok’s airport was the most IG-ed place in the world. Seriously. Hahahahaha.

    But I like how you started off reminiscing about childhood. I think if you are old enough not to have social media and an insta-camera constantly at your disposal, you’ll have a stronger foundation to build from. I’m glad I grew up before social media and that I didn’t grow up on it. But at the end of the day, it’s a choice and you are obviously reflecting on that!

    1. I love that, the #365daysofgratitude sounds great and meaningful. That’s true, it’s important who we choose to surround ourselves in our online environment. I like to follow fashion bloggers, but it’s also good to have the balance of friends who are simply posting snapshots that don’t have to be perfect, but are nice to see what they’re doing. Oh wow, haha yes! I think it’s so common now isn’t it? I like Instagram, but I suppose I went through a period where it wasn’t so good for my body image. But it’s a great place to connect with people, find places to visit/eat, admire creatives works etc. Thank you so much for your comment, it absolutely is! xx

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