Ever since I was young, I always gravitated toward women with a strong voice that spoke up against societies norms and encouraged others to not just do better but – be better. From grade school to college, while other boys were doing reports on sports greats such as Babe Ruth and Michael Jordon, I was putting my pen to paper and writing about the inspirational impact of women like Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell. I remember finishing up cross-country practice after school and bolting home to watch both these queens of talk do their thing. I loved their delivery, their way of articulating what we should all do to be happier people. Being happy within my own skin was something I subconsciously and consciously had to work on as a kid. I guess that is to be expected when you are coming to terms with your own sexuality. So, the whole inspirational guru talk always intrigued me because I was desperately on the search to fine peace.
When social media hit its stride in the early 2000’s, many people did not know what to post, unless you were in that younger demographic where you were connecting with your college pals on Facebook or retweeting a funny one liner on Twitter. However, as social media evolved, so did the content and how people communicated what they were feeling. It became not just more personal but full on in your face transparent. If you were to scan through your Facebook feed at this very moment, you would probably find all sorts of topics, but nothing seems to be more prominent than people using their social media to flood their emotions in search of validation or dare I say, attention? Has social media turned into an outlet for everyone to tell each other if they are either #happy, #grateful, #blessed or even the complete opposite, miserable? We all know those downers that constantly go on social media to post about how horrible their life is day in and day out. From their job, their relationship, the way they look, to belittling a famous celebrity or two in the hopes to make themselves feel better. The emotional ups and downs of people we know (or not know at all) are all scattered across our laptops and iPhone screens.
Then, you have the followers that mix their selfies, fitness photos, and sunsets with their very own tweaked version of a Maya Angelou quote or Google image mantra. Is their intent to inspire you or do they just want you to think that they are really deep? There really are no rules or guidelines when it comes to posting. So, with the wave of everyone seeking to be validated, heard or “liked,” I wonder if getting those emotions out on social media does something good for ones self? Does all the #grateful or all this “I’m proud to announce” or “It’s official” statements actually bring good vibes to oneself or even the friends and followers that are reading it? These personal press release life postings can often come off with the right intentions, but it is hard not to argue that others just come off desperately thirsty.
Perhaps, that is indeed the mystery question for social media. What is everyone’s intent? I know it is going to be different from person to person but there has to be a come to Jesus moment when somebody stops, scans their social media platforms and asks, “what am I reflecting to the world and why am I doing it?”
I have been guilty as charged with posting really lame posts. Thank God for the new “archive” element on Instagram, but lately I have been going back and just deleting the most self-obsessed driven pictures from back in the day. The truth is, I think social media is very good and it has the ability to have a powerful impact on the world. With that said, I think social media rides a fine line of being too personal for most people. The instant gratification of getting a “like” or a comment has taken over like a drug and affects how people think about their own selves or their perception of what is real. Suddenly, a new haircut deservers a post with a caption that does not imply you are looking for a compliment. Depending on the reaction, you either feel good about it or not at all. What measures that feeling? Well, for some it has to do with how many likes.
What I encourage for everyone to do before posting, is to take a moment and pause and ask yourself is it worth putting out there? Social media is supposed to mirror a glimpse of who you are or what your life is all about. So, if you are indeed on a spiritual journey and are looking to inspire, don’t do it through an underwear shot and a rearranged quote below it. Why not let your own actions do the talking for you. It should actually be less about you and rather about what you look like but rather what your true purpose is. It is like the friend that feeds a homeless person on the street and tells everyone about it the next day on Facebook (yes, that happens). Why not just do a good deed without the applause? I just think it takes away from the actual goodness of a kind act and questions on whether someone is doing it for attention or not?
So, as much as talk shows like Oprah had taught us to write in our gratitude journals, and work on becoming our very best self, we have to take a second and notice how we’ve allowed social media to take that idea, but turn it into an open arena for emotions to fall free. I just hope that whatever it is you post about, your intent comes from a place of good.
The Other Hubby