I missed the train again this morning. The first one, so I’m still going to be just on time for work with the second one. I try to enjoy when I miss it, ‘cuz it means I have time to just listen to music or write, or have a nap, or daydream, or eat, or do some exercise, or go home and come back, and oh, the second train has a delay…
I have to stop from writing, ‘cuz someone is calling my name. I’m always a little surprised and pleased at the same time when I hear people properly pronouncing my name, even though it’s not in their native language, and I really appreciate the effort of remembering how to say it. A young man is approaching the train station, and I sigh as I take off my earphones; but after all, it’s always nicer to have a real, interesting conversation rather than writing by myself, right? And with someone nice.
But when a certain statement was pronounced, I realised that our conversation may have quite large potential of becoming more than an ordinary dialogue. And by this, I mean inspiration.
I know it wasn’t a question, but I still had to give him an answer as soon as the feeling of half amusement, half astonishment has gone. I could still hear the echo of his voice, with that funny accent that I can’t reproduce even after I’ve lived for a couple years in this country. “You seem to be really popular on Facebook, you have lots of ‘Likes’ at that photo from yesterday”. Popular… Facebook… Likes. I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and changed the subject.
But the truth is, his assumption is not true. I’m not popular on Facebook, not even amongst my own Facebook friends, and I know persons with way too many friends and lot way too many Likes compared to me. So what? I remember two videos that roughly explain the whole social media craziness better than I can. The first one, Look up, made me cry – ‘cuz 1:43 is heartbreaking whether you’re in the romantic city of Paris or in the filthiest pub… You should take a break and watch it if you haven’t already, there’s too much to say about it.
I’m not sure what the second one is called, (update: I found it! 😀 This is it: What’s on your mind?) but there was a guy comparing everything he saw on Facebook with his own life. Pictures of the food others were eating looked better than his meals. The relationships looked better than his own. Social life and parties looked better. Long story short, he starts to distort the reality, by posting false statuses and pictures, in order to display his ideal, unreal life. And yes, people ‘liked’ those, and he soon becomes ‘popular’, given the number of likes. Until one day when his real, awful life gets even more miserable, and he suddenly can’t stand it any more… and he posts on Facebook ‘My life sucks’. The end of the video? Someone’s unfollowing him (might as well be you).
We pretend to have a fun life, a happy life, an interesting life, and we have the urge to show the others how perfect this life of ours is.
We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation…
We need Likes to see who our friends are, ‘cuz he’s not a true friend if he hasn’t ‘liked’ your selfie, right? We need check-ins to see, again, that the others see where we are, and see who Likes the fact that you’re there, the fact that you’re having lots of fun while perhaps in reality you’re really, really bored (or else you wouldn’t care about Facebook. But perhaps you really do have fun and still take your time to share this with the rest of the world… Anyway, you may live more of an online life rather than a real one). We need to Like others’ photos in order to show them that we exist, that we’re here, that we need their Likes in return some other time, even though perhaps the photo is blurry, or too ordinary, or something really boring, or perhaps we don’t even really like that person. We share inspirational quotes that we don’t understand, and life events that emphasise the beauty of our lives… Cause no one posts an update about how wrong things are actually going in your life. No one wants to depress others with their depression, right? So instead of risking being unfollowed, isn’t it easier to invent such a perfect life and display it there? No one cares if you were crying, but I’m sure the 100+ Likes that you have on that photo where you fake a smile will definitely make you feel better…. You’re more likely to end up being even more confused.
‘I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely.’
I’m not trying to convince you that using Facebook or social media in general is a bad thing (I can’t even convince myself of that). I just try to make sure that next time you’ll Like a photo, post a status or prepare to start a few hours marathon of stalking your ex, you’ll ask yourself Why does all this matter to me? Life surely is more than that.
The topic of social media is too large to be covered into one post, plus the train has just arrived so I’ll end here for now. Or perhaps I’m ending the post here ‘cuz I need a break and I haven’t checked Facebook for a while (it’s amazing how many things can be posted on the news feed in 5 minutes…). You will never know! 🙂