this day and age, i understand what my father meant
when he said he hated technology.
Growing up, he had always talked to me about how technology robs us from our nature. From our peace and contentment. He would say humans will eventually seek out conventionality and get back to our roots. I would grunt and put on an annoyed face. but you use them all the time, you even work in IT! why are you complaining?, I would think.
I’ve lived all my life with more advanced technologies (compared to my father, of course). I had been introduced to devices ever since I was a little and learn to use internet at a considerably early age. I find technology really useful and perhaps cannot live without it.
But lately, I have thought about what my father used to rumble about, though for me, it’s specifically social media.
Yes, social media have transform our world in ways we couldn’t imagine. It has brought many advantages, both for businesses and individuals. It accelerated the process of sending and receiving messages that could have only been done in days or hours, into minutes or even seconds. Oh I am sure there are many things we can do with it, to use if for the good.
But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m not here to talk about how useful and advanced it is cause I’m sure everyone these days have felt and acknowledged its benefits. Instead, I’m here to talk about the opposite.
Why focus on the bad?, you’d ask (or not, maybe you don’t even care). Just because that’s how I’ve been thinking and feeling. And why should I care? You shouldn’t, really. I just feel like writing about it. So if you’re looking for a writing that considers giving social media a stage, this isn’t it. By all means, these are merely my thoughts, feelings, and opinion (and I might add to it some time in the future).
Back to what I was going to say, I think it robs us from authenticity and freedom. Perhaps not entirely, but definitely to some extent.
There’s always a feeling of wanting to belong in the society — to be approved of— including in this world of social media that sometimes tend to be prioritized. Many focuses on what can be seen through this digital world rather than how they really are. While the opportunities given are so vast and limitless, it also imprisons us. It puts us into a mental cage. No, not a cage. A cage implies there is only one exact space within a definite size. I think it puts us into a mental hole, where it would get harder and harder to get out from the more we go deeper into it.
This cyberspace filled with eyes that seems to always monitor us from god-knows-where (well, everywhere), always care about what we put out there or don’t care at all. I often find myself putting into consideration the opinions people might think of me. It’s a might, it’s not even a fact, yet I still think about it that it often takes away my original thought about the things I put out or take in. About myself, even, and how I perform through social platforms. It makes me lack vulnerability and more about polishing the truth so that it’s truthful enough, yet it is still considered presentable based on the standard that I only imagined. I mostly try to be my own when using social media yet I still occasionally find myself being this way. I guess that is natural, as long as it isn’t too much. (I honestly have another thought on digital age personal branding, but that’s for another time)
Let’s shift the topic to communication. For a while I have been hating the instant communication social media delivers, to the point that sometimes I wish social media hadn’t exist. Often, I find this instant and intransparent way of connecting raided the potential of us having true and honest relationships with other people. We talk using texts, and sometimes more frequent than using our mouth, where it is easier to hide our truest feeling and act differently than we feel. I’m not saying which is better but the more I use social media, the more I feel disconnected. Funny when one of its purposes was to bring people closer together. Yet here I am yearning to meet people ‘the old way’, in a bookstore or park or other common places you usually find people at. This era, there are no more “don’t go around talking to people in the internet” — or in this case, social media — and more of being told to be cautious when you met someone in a random place (even as ‘random’ as your favorite cafe). While it is important to be cautious either way, I think it’s safe to say social media has taken over where people mainly live their lives.
Another thing I notice that annoys me is how heavily social media contributes to pop culture. A lot of people are influenced by how certain things are shaped in social media. This includes how we dress, what we read, where we go, et cetera. More and more I see people wearing the same piece of clothings or go to the same places, to the point that I cannot differentiate their own personal tastes and styles. This and this and this again! I certainly cannot say that I don’t participate in this phenomenon, but I hate it because I do. This culture forms into standards of what is considered cool and not cool, and I think I often find myself struggling to stand out my own way because I’m scared of being spotted to be different in a room full of similars. I hate to risk myself to the vulnerability. I also tend to like exploring those that are on trends — mostly comes from social media — opening up new possibilities for new interests, though too much of this had been proven to cause me to lose a little bit of my authenticity (and worse, identity).
So where is this going? Nowhere, this is pointless. Like I said I’m just here to complain. And you see how I wrote these disclaimers? It is just another form of wanting to be accepted and understood through this digital realm, while honestly I think I have no need writing these sentences.
To conclude, while I might — at this second — wish social media to disappear, I will definitely continue to use it. I need it, after-all, obviously because it also offers conveniences and really, who can live without it nowadays? (and by live I don’t mean the way eating and drinking contribute to human lives, well…you get what I mean. I hope..)