The Social Media Paradox

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Late last year while I was at a conference, I had an interesting conversation with someone I met there. It started when he noticed me simultaneously browsing thru Pinterest and Instagram on my phone while checking on WordPress on my laptop, and he confessed that he uses no social media despite the urging from his friends and family. For him, social media is a negative experience and is not conducive to his wants and values. That was his opinion and I respect it. Just as he respects my views when I told him my work and passions lend themselves to using social media. However, that conversation now led me to think about it in a deeper way. To it, I believe that intent and purpose are the driving factors that should be omnipotent in your relationship with social media. Is it a healthy experience for your life or is it distracting from your true values, or defining your decisions?

Social media has been a revelation to many and launched many careers. There are countless incredible accounts which have given us that all important spark of imagination or needed motivation. All of these things are wonderful – but know where the line is and where it is for you. What are your driving factors?

On the the flipside of our ability to now mass-express, we should think about whether our capabilities to interact and communicate with others on more intricate levels are suffering. How we communicate with each other has been said to be 90% body language.

An early girlfriend of Steve Jobs said that while he created something that connected the whole world, he himself couldn’t make a connection with anyone on a personal level.

What happens to our relationships when conversations are replaced with emojis?

Are we losing the subtle intricacies that come from a look or slight movement? Are we losing our attention to detail, our ability to focus or our imaginations that used to be forced to build color, people and stories amongst the pages of brilliant writers.

And in the words of one of my favorite writers, Sixto Rodriguez, I wonder.

Is this all just our way of coping with the world’s crumbling lack of etiquette, manners, moral codes and common decency? – or is it the cause of it?

I love coining quotes as much as I love reading them. I even logged into Pinterest and read hundreds of ‘pinned’ quotes. I’ve noticed some of my friends love posting quotes too, on one of the leading social media platform there is – Facebook.

You may ask, ‘Is there a problem to it?’ Nothing of huge significance, I suppose. But hear me out on this…

I believe our modern, tech-savvy lifestyles are rewarding immediacy over applied perseverance; rewarding quick, superficial gains which in turn, and rather ironically, makes many of the social’ised quotes hypocritical. Hypocritical to their very core because while we’re all well aware of the perseverance things worth achieving actually takes, (at least I hope we’re all aware), more often than not, we’re happy to take the short-cut out.

The epitome of these short-cuts being oxymorons like “Live authentically”, which is captioned under a photo of a hot boy/girl on a beach then posted to thousands of “friends” or “followers” (most of whom they haven’t personally met face to face) and subsequent “likes” on {insert social media channel here}, is just an example.

What has the world come to when people are posting things that they clearly have no connection with, and then putting them out to “friends” in the social medias. This does not amount to business sales, genuine relationships, or your own self-worth and growth. It does not tell the world you’re happy, living truthfully or that you’re a fly by the seat of your pants type happy.

It does the exact opposite. It diffuses your true self and enhances your false self.

Are we so afraid to be sad, bad, wrong, uncool, uncouth – or a combination of all of these that we have to fake a light and happy existence because we’ve skipped past the nuances of the quotes we’re reading and their implied perseverance and jumped right on to the (seemingly) quick fix happy?

Happiness. To me anyway, is a habit. It’s a choice and it’s an applied perseverance. It’s not a blessed or perfect life and it’s not a social post. It’s not immediate and it’s not fleeting. It’s not dependent on outside factors or likes. I am not Buddha and I am not Gandhi, I don’t have the answers – but I feel like paying more attention to the here and now, the people who are actually behind the technology (that’s us by the way) – might help create some lasting happy habits of my own.

My point being: social media status does not define you and your happiness and success. If your post  authentically expresses your state of happiness and success, well and good. Otherwise, look for that something by which you can express them truthfully.

 

NOW: The magic behind.

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Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s past.

We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present.

When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don’t appreciate the living present because we vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree. We overthink and our thoughts take over our decisions and actions.

However, living in the moment allows you to be truly grateful for the wonderful things you have in this very moment, no matter if it is health or the fact that you have a lovely family. By living in the moment you are not dependent on the accomplishment of wealth, tangibles or anything else in order to become happy as you are already able to appreciate and love the very moment, which makes you happy. Furthermore, it helps you to realize that the pursuit of material things or needs with the attempt to find fulfillment and happiness will fail and end in a viscous circle of desiring, pursuing and achieving, without reaching the desired destination (happiness). Goals and hopes (for instance the hope to become rich, famous or successful) are not real in the present situation, as they are just thoughts and dreams that do not exist, yet. You cannot feel or experience them and should not rely on them to make you any happier at all, when realized. Even more important: the things you desire won’t make you any happier at all, if you aren’t able to be thankful for what you already have. In fact, you will never experience true happiness and fulfillment by accomplishing the various things labeled as your “personal needs”, as these needs are constantly shifting, as soon as you satisfy one of them.

When living in the moment there will be no questions about what might happen, what could have happened or what will happen. Living in the moment means to accept the past as what it is: a bygone and not changeable experience that will only have an influence on your present life if you allow it to.

(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com