The first few sentences of this blog article are going to make me sound like an old man, just like my dad used to criticise my rave and techno music (EDM for those who weren’t there but wished they were) and his dad before him who probably criticised his Elvis or Rock n Roll, but I would like to beg your indulgence for a few minutes and ask you to read this article because its not based upon some jaded view of the internet from someone who can remember life before it, like it used to somewhat better. Instead this article is about remembering one’s true purpose and intrinsic value not in the sum of your Likes or Follows.
Before the pre-amble gets too much let me cut to the chase. I am talking about Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and the myriad of other “social” sites out there that whilst be amazing at connecting individuals also harbour and to some extent inadvertently promote darker aspects of human society. And whilst the creatives and visionaries at tech companies sit on their bean bags and wistfully dream about improving lives through connectivity, it is ultimately the bean counters, the money men that will drive their creation from being a virtue of light to a money-making machine. Whilst I shudder to think about the lives that have been ruined by posts about suicide or self-harming, I feel physically sick to think that someone out there is profiting from them.
But this article is not a one-man crusade against social media, larger entities have tackled this such as (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/17/instagram-is-supposed-to-be-friendly-so-why-is-it-making-people-so-miserable) as if I would have any chance against the machine. Far from it, in fact I use social media every day to promote my business. True, I rarely post anything online that is personal, you won’t see photos of my family or family events, certainly not from me anyway. But the difference is that I know that 99% of what people share is not a direct representation of their lives.
It’s a snapshot in time of their life, or what they want you to think is their life. But it’s not what their life is like every minute of the day. For instance, take the bodybuilder who has spent 2 years in the gym working hard for that one photograph to be shared showing their bodies to be better than a Greek God or Goddess. Take a second glance at the photo of an amazing meal, a brand-new car or even someone in a plane. Pause for thought when yet another person pops up in a video on an exotic beach telling you how you can make a billion overnight just by giving up your email address or taking an online course. It’s not real!
Yet I see a lot of my students, friends and family getting sucked into this make-believe world, believing that their life is somehow diminished or not what it should be. I see people getting stressed about what is missing in their lives whilst forgetting everything they do have, the glass being half empty!
Now, if you have got this far in this article, congratulations, you are still able to concentrate without being distracted by your phone!
To be clear about this article – You are not defined by the amount of Likes, Follows, Shares or Emoji reactions, they mean nothing!!! You are defined instead by your actions, your character, your strength of purpose and your determination to live you best REAL life.
Written by Christopher Allen
21st August 2019