Updated: Feb 8, 2019
“Hardly never taking pictures, not the photo type. Please don't Instagram this shit and be up on me like "Oh, you owe me likes".”- Big Sean, Outro
I don’t like phones. Twenty-year old me would have never utter that sentence. But after breaking my iPhone, for the umpteenth time, Am today, embraces this truth. I found it freeing to not have a phone. The panic I once felt, melted away to peace. That’s when it hit me. Sis, it wasn’t the phone I didn’t like, it was social media.
Social media was supposed to be this place, where we can go online to share ideas and information. Instead of ideas being shared and embrace, you can be attacked for saying the wrong or unpopular thing. Instead of giving out useful information, some just use it to brag about what they have. And I won’t even start, on the damage it has done to the youth and their inability to have meaningful relationships. I don’t say this as someone who hasn’t fallen into the trap. I’ve done it all, plus some. And I’m also not saying that it’s all bad. Social media has created job and given people amazing opportunities. But like all good things, it has a dark side. Like the numerous killing and suicides that have taken place on Facebook and Instagram live. Or the number of parents who use it to “discipline” their children. Combined with the rise of kid and teen suicides. This innocent tool has been turned into a deadly weapon, that only the pretty and popular survives. There have been countless case studies on the negative effect of social media. Yet nothing has changed. At what point are we going to ask ourselves: is this shit really healthy for us?
I can tell you who someone slept with, who they are engaged to and what their kids look like, without even saying a word to them. The idea of going to a class reunion is comical. I already know what my classmates are doing. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram Live have become our own reality shows. And I can admit, sometimes I’m totally here for it. But isn’t it weird that someone can know so much about your life, without even knowing you? See when I’m on the internet, I always find myself comparing myself to others. I be like, “Damn it’s like she’s always traveling!” or “Damn, they are the perfect couple.” Not knowing any background to these picture-perfect moments. Those comments may seem like harmless remarks. But what I’m really saying to myself is, “What am I not doing right?”
Lately, I have been noticing a trend – some of the most talented stars today are not on social media. I’m talking about the Donald Glovers, Ryan Coogler and Frank Oceans of the world. (Let’s not start on famous authors. JK & Stephen King may be the only ones ON the internet) Ryan Coogler literally ran from Ava (DuVernay) when she tried to get a picture of him for Instagram. (THEE Ryan Coogler of Fruitvale Station, Creed & BLACK PARTNER!) The world today, says we need to have social media. But let’s be honest: Do we really need this shit?
The truth is, I don’t like it, it doesn’t make me feel good. I always find myself growing anxious and feeling like I’m not doing enough. (When I’m actually kind of doing the most.) It wasn’t until I took an online- energy class, that I realized why I was feeling that way. My spiritual teacher Maryam Hasnaa, described the Earth’s group collective (especially online), as one of fear and anxiousness. She got me to realize, that whenever I was strolling Instagram or surfing the internet, I’m breaking my natural flow and tapping into the group's collective. Have you ever experienced anything like this? Like your day was perfectly fine until you went on social media? Or have you ever noticed, that you were doing weird shit for social media? For example: My boyfriend hates social media. But that still doesn’t stop me from writing a #MCM post or posting on his wall. Then one day, I had to ask myself, who am I doing this for? It damn sure wasn’t for him. He barely sees it! And it’s wasn’t for me because I already knew it. I was doing it because I wanted people to know that I was in a committed relationship. For them to know that I was happy. After that I made a rule to not do that type of posts again.
Simple things like eating, going out, or girl trips have all turned into an opportunity to go viral. And it all seems forced. Like, have you ever been at a concert and someone is live-streaming the whole time? Or you’re on vacation and someone is literally trying to document the whole trip? Social media has taken away the joy of enjoying each other and simply living in the moment. I for one, refuse to keep letting this tool dedicate how I feel about myself and my life. Personally, as I’ve written this piece, I’m considering spending the rest of the year off social media. Especially now that we’re heading into holiday season. I have so much that I want to accomplish and social media is just a distraction. I want to be present in my life and truly appreciating what’s happening for me – in the now.
A while ago, Solange deleted her Twitter. She did it for “self-care” purposes. If this Grammy winning, black girl magic in the flesh had to delete her account, why do we feel like leaving social media is a death sentence? Could it be that we are using social media as a clutch to not live in the reality of our lives? Or am I alone in this struggle? Social media has gone from this cool neat tool to this essential part of life. And I’m not really feeling it. I’ve been lusting over the 90s, where people could literally drop off the face of the Earth and you will never see them again. When the only way to get in touch with someone was catching them at home or hitting them on their beeper. Man, that sounds like the good days. Or is it just me? Does social media make you feel good?
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