Everything in contemporary society discourages interiority. More and more of our exchanges take place via circuits, and in their very nature those interactions are such as to keep us hovering in the virtual now, a place away from ourselves.
On top of this, we hire and create our own bots to inflate our ego. The President is perhaps the most guilty of this.
Social media is a chaotic popularity contest where we forfeit authenticity and opt instead for the curated life. We keep our ailments offline, with exception to Google where we always admit our fears. Anyone who shares anything is considered an extrovert by default.
Anyone who shares anything online is viewed as an extrovert by default. In fact, inwardness is the impetus for even more sharing. We replace loneliness with tweets and Instagrams to get others to confirm that we exist.
The second we put the phone away boredom and loneliness strike us hard. The best we can do is embrace these moments to remind what was, a knowledge of self.
We can all assume that a social media persona is different than that in real life. Writes Jonathan Crossfield in Chief Content Officer Magazine: “Strategy or no strategy, all social media is artifice and spin”
No one is going to post in public what they Google in private. We’d rather tweet about golfing than doing the dishes.
The curated self is an avatar. Celebrities and influencers are no different than you and me: we use social media as a marketing platform.
If social media is edited real life, reality is inauthentic social media. We invent experiences so we can share them. We guide the the mirror to project the best self, even if that piece of content is ephemeral and disappears.
All the world’s an internet stage; as entertainers, we take our authenticity offline.
“Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power, and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.”
Trump has thirty million Twitter followers, a majority of which follow him to see what the lightning rod of criticism says next. Both the attention and scorn make him miserable. If you’re looking for happiness in the credibility of numbers, social media may be the wrong game to play.
Happiness is tied to likeability, not our number of followers. If we want to extend our lives, it pays to be both well-known and well-liked. Hint: try to be nice to people, share upfront, and don’t be surprised if they remember your name.
In this interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, American humorist and comedian David Sedaris reflects on the rough diary entries that became his new book Theft by Finding and why he always wanted to be a successful writer.
A lot of people don’t know what they want, or they’re just kind of vague about it. I was never vague. I knew exactly what I wanted. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get it, but it’s scary … because what if that doesn’t happen?
Yesterday was #NationalDonutDay. Here’s the history on donuts in one GIF. But you know those brassy looking pink donut bags at high-end bakeries? It’s a marketing gimmick; a trigger for emotions. It’s no surprise that they’re a product of LA.
“How the pink box has persevered so long may be about more than just dollars and cents. Experts say the color triggers an emotional connection to sweetness that makes doughnuts more irresistible than they already are…Anytime you see a movie or sitcom set in New York and a pink doughnut box appears, you know it obviously took place in L.A.”
If you want to stretch time, experience something new on the weekends. Break up the time with simple excursions. For instance, go play your Nintendo Switch in the park rather than from the couch. Read and write somewhere else other than your study desk or favorite cafe.
“According to David Eagleman, professor at Stanford University and the author of The Brain: The Story of You, pursuing new settings, new activities, and new experiences is the best way to “stretch time,” so to speak. It all comes down to what your brain perceives as novel. When you spend time doing something unfamiliar, your brain focuses more on collecting the data associated with the activity, thus creating a more thorough memory of the experience. When you reflect on that memory, it feels like you had more time.”
Photographing is essentially an act of non-intervention. Part of the horror of such memorable coups of contemporary photojournalism as the pictures of a Vietnamese bonze reaching for the gasoline can, of a Bengali guerrilla in the act of bayoneting a trussed-up collaborator, comes from the awareness of how plausible it has become, in situations where the photographer has the choice between a photograph and a life, to choose the photograph. The person who intervenes cannot record; the person who is recording cannot intervene.
A lot of photographers take heat for capturing their subjects in life-threatening situations. Shouldn’t they be doing something to help the situation rather than documenting its demise?
Photographers are journalists too. Without their pictures, we can’t relive the event. They’re doing their job. The main gripe in most witness photography is with the
The main gripe with most witness photography is with the amafessional, who like any other citizen journalist has a camera phone in their pocket. Except, we see too often prioritize the camera over what should be the human instinct to assist.
Photography can be an act of selfishness, especially when the object is suffering.
To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a “good” picture), to be in complicity with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing —including, when that is the interest, another person’s pain or misfortune.
Social networks compel people to see. People go on vacation just so they can share pictures to their Instagram feed. Any museum that bars photography is somehow instantly boring. Remove Instagram, and the world becomes a lot less interesting for most folks.
The photographer’s role in emergency situations is complicated. When participation is voluntary, the camera offers a way to do something rather than nothing. The viewer’s discretion says a lot about their moral priorities.
Before the rise of ownership of mirrors in the 15th century, people mostly identified themselves with others. It was their reflection that made them appears as individuals.
The portable oil canvass in the 16th century accelerated the self-absorbed trend. Self-portraits became the predominant way to flaunt one’s importance and durability. Artists, in particular, were the first to latch on to painting technology to curate their image the way people edit their selfies today.
Modern day photography with software editing tools like Photoshop wishes to make people look better than they actually are, unlike the television which adds five pounds.
Either way, we’re not going to be remembered for how we looked but rather for what we contributed to the world. The work, not the selfie, is what’s going to last.
“Americans spend about six times as much of their time cleaning dishes as they do golfing. But there are roughly twice as many tweets reporting golfing as there are tweets reporting doing the dishes.”
We’re more likely to check-in to the Ritz-Carlton on Facebook than the Holiday Inn. We signal to others our better selves, even if it’s half-true, yet hold back on revealing any vulnerabilities. Social media devours the happier, exaggerated stories.
Google is the sole platform that reveals the truth. It “offers digital truth serum.” We type in everything there: our worst fears to the ridiculous and unremarkable.
Furthermore, we should take anyone’s social media profile with a grain of salt. It’s the best version of us. The real anxieties exist in the search bar.
The internet complicates what it means to be productive. We trap ourselves in email and unlimited social media browsing. We eat lunch at our desks to justify your busyness when “we should go for a walk, to the coffee shop, just to get away. Even Victorian factories had some kind of rest breaks,” says workplace psychologist Michael Guttridge.
Studies repeatedly show the dangers of multitasking and continuous partial attention. By doing more, we’re immersing ourselves less. More than five minutes of Twitter a day won’t make you any better of a Tweeter, observes Seth Godin. Fast-forwarding through movies, podcasts, and books won’t allow you to go deeper into the experience. More information just makes your brain fatter.
In a world of limited attention, it pays to be bored. The brain needs time to switch off, wander, and disconnect from the 24/7 neuron-inducing chemical factory. If everything is meaningful, nothing is worth doing.
The 19th-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said to be “be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
Vivian Maier took this to heart. No one ever knew this nanny was an artist of her own.
She took over 100,000 photos, mostly street photographs of downtown Chicago, and kept them for her own viewing, including her selfies. Taking pictures was her happy place, a creative outlet, that allowed her to see the world with a third eye. She wrote with light.
Today, Maier would’ve been an Instagram and VSCO sensation. While she may have resisted social media given her inclination as a loner, she probably would’ve enjoyed connecting with others who shared the same passion. The internet unleashes the weirdness in all of us, motivating us to share our work.
Van Gogh only sold one piece of artwork in his life, to his brother. His posthumous reputation speaks for itself, as does Maier’s.
Attention is a gift that the social networks want to steal from you. Here’s a simple trick to ward off their magnetism and catch yourself: put the social apps on the fourth home screen.
That’s right: make it harder to access Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest with just a couple taps. The design hurdle allows the mind to pause before engaging into a sinkhole of distraction and emotional envy.
Take back control of your time and don’t let social media use you. Direct its intention by redirecting your attention. Let the story be about your presence.
Facebook makes you unhappier because it produces envy. We always want in our feeds what we don’t have in real life: a stable relationship, a high-paying job, a weekend vacation in the Caribbean, a beautiful house, a new car, the latest gadgets–the list goes on.
But social media is edited real life. We tend to over-post happiness and under-post negativity. Who’s going to share about their mental illness, a divorce, or a family death? That’s sad stuff, even if Facebook allows you to respond with a weepy face instead of a thumbs up.
We usually post things that we wish were, not as they are. Social media presents the best of the best, an online Truman Show that excludes the beautiful struggle in between. At the very least, social media is pseudo-news that often omits context.