Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media. Let’s stalk about it.

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Me and my new boyfriend Netflix (no offence real boyfriend) have been having quite the affair lately. And oddly enough there seems to be a shit-ton of shows related to technology, social media, paranoia, needs and perceptions.

One of the shows I watch is about bullying in highschool and how technology makes it so much worse. In hindsight I guess I was bullied a bit, some rumours spread, some issues with girls, some issues with boys, some issues with girls about boys and ultimately some very poor self-esteem. Back then the rumours were spread in homeroom or late at night on a landline, if people isolated you, well you just spoke to nobody and if photos were taken you had to physically pass them around…nowadays it can be public, and messy, and graphic, and isolation is proven to you in so many more ways.

But, honestly, this post isn’t about bullying, it’s more about the technology involved and it’s effect on our lives. I’ve been watching the show Black Mirror recently, and each and every episode has some tie into advanced technology and how it does (or could) affect our lives. The episodes are dark, they are creepy, they are the modern day Twilight Zone and more scarily, some are a little too close to the truth.

One episode in particular has resonated with quite a few girls I know. Bryce Dallas Howard lives in a world where “likes” are a part of your daily interactions. And I don’t just mean a part, I mean the virtual equivalent of popularity IS their life’s work, their whole life. Every interaction they have with anybody…everybody…is ranked out of 5 stars. Your rating (think about your own personal Trip Advisor) decides not only how beloved you are, but what you can get in life. You can get a better car, better house, better flight, better price and hell, better man if you have a higher ranking. You spend your whole life obsessing over your perceived popularity with a fake little smile plastered on your fake little face.

Well, I’ve been Bryce Dallas Howard. I’ve been that person looking at somebody else’s photos, fiancée, new dog, new house, current trip and yearning. Yearning over their great career, their new car, their everlasting love and here I am sitting on my couch listening to the Cure. Okay, that’s a bit drastic, but movies, my music, my guitar and my Netflix. And so we’ve come full circle.

Tricked you again, the post isn’t really about Netflix either. Sneaky, sneaky.

Anyway. Did you know there are studies floating around stating that excessive selfies are linked to anxiety, self-esteem and overall intimacy and straight-up mental disorder? In fact, it’s called “selfitis”. No seriously. And though I am guilty of (let’s admit it) #awesome selfies, I can’t help but notice those people that post them 15 times a day. All it takes is 3 people…3 selfies a day can check you into the nuthouse. Read on, tis true.

www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/addiction-selfies-mental-disorder.html

It also turns out the stronger your relationship with social media is, often the higher your chances of depression are. The need to prove everything to the world is proof that something is missing, let’s call it a “virtual void” to be filled. Fake friends, fake articles, fake comments and fake likes on meaningless posts. “They” also say that the more you see other people’s shining, smiling, delicious, bright, filtered, deliriously happy photos, the sadder you will be….as you sit on your couch…and write your blog grocery list and feed your cat kids. #nofilter #reallife 

www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2016/04/30/study-links-heavy-facebook-and-social-media-usage-to-depression/#695968544b53

And the worst part about this post is that I know these things. I know that getting likes on my Instagram, comments on my selfies and followers on my blog (oh please, oh please) doesn’t mean I’m a better person. It doesn’t mean that I’m smarter, or prettier, or any more talented, it doesn’t mean that I’m thinner, fatter, richer, more or less loved. It doesn’t mean these things.

The sad thing is, I do feel a little bit prettier when 40 people like my new glasses, I do feel a bit more loved when my boyfriend likes my photos (and imagine if he tagged me too, lucky gal) and I do look at other girls photos and envy their lives. I envy their fake lashes, I envy their pet’s Instagram page, I envy their seemingly loving boyfriend who posts hashtag after hashtag about his goddess and their uber perfect life. I envy their expensive clothes, I envy their free housing and I envy their size 4 figure.

So, deep down, I know that comparing your life is the most useless activity in the world, and envying somebody’s need to post everything that has every happened in their world with at least one #hashtagged couple-selfie a day is sad…but let’s be brutally honest, my desire to look in and care is even sadder.

So many struggle with this. We hate online dating, we hate feeling unwanted / unliked, we know when somebody unfriends us, we panic when we think we are blocked, we post our feelings on the bad days and our best pictures on the good ones. We know that more likes means more love, right? Wrong. Those of us smart enough to know it is a mental disorder filled with narcissism, anxiety, depression and meaninglessness know it’s wrong, but we yearn anyway.

Life is now one big photo album of people’s kids and vacations. There is no avoiding it short of having the guts to go media free. But as most jobs are posted online, most business profiles are necessary, online education is a thing, digital music is a must, smartphones are the norm…odds of us going off the grid are poor. So, in the meantime we will do our best to love our lives and remember that the more wonderful things you post, sometimes the less wonderful your life actually is.

Now, don’t say you’re too afraid or that you don’t feel comfortable doing this kind of thing, because guess what? You spy on people every day. We’re always watching someone. Following someone. And being followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’ve made us a society of stalkers. And we love it. – Hannah, 13 Reasons Why

The Ginga Ninja

This is my Journey, This is My Song…

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accept-brown-cry-feelings-red-Favim.com-229253Every now and again amongst all the family functions, friends, social media updates, weather changes, mundane cleaning, laundry, garbage and the inevitable mandatories of life…somewhere in all of that is me. I know that I am not the most important, or correction even an important person in the scheme of the world, but I’m me and I’m all I got. All these feelings, emotions, up days, down days, flirtations, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of pride…they seem to have nowhere to go. There are days where I know my trials, inner workings, needs and wants are no more important than anybody else’s and really my story is not one that the world needs to know to be a better place.

Yet, I have….feelings. Feelings about being happy in the moment, sadness at times, uneasiness, uncertainty, confusion…and I constantly try to shut these down. I try to bury all the bad and decide they are simply moments and they don’t make my overall, but I think, as human as we are, we need to relish in them too. Sure, I’m not that special, but do I have the right to confusion or controversy, the right to wallow in self-pity or get pissed off because I don’t understand an outcome? Sure do. Maybe I feel things a little too deep or think things a little too much, but that’s just me. Maybe I try to predict the outcome long before the tale has been told and maybe I need to organize things into rational boxes in order to stay a rational person, but reality is, right or wrong I’m not you and you aren’t me. And emotions aren’t rational.

As I get older I have learned that acceptance of your good and bad traits is necessary for survival. Nobody is perfect 17602003-Sympathy-Word-Cloud-Concept-in-Red-Caps-with-great-terms-such-as-sorrow-feelings-loss-support-prayer-Stock-Photoand the more we strive to be so, the more we let everyone (including ourselves) down. And here’s the scary truth, we aren’t letting anybody down. This is a common misconception placed on us as kids – be good, be helpful, be honest, be hardworking, be all you can be…but really, be who you can live with. And more importantly, realize that you will have good days and bad. Moments where you write to clear your head, moments where you sing to clear your lungs and moments where you cry to clear your soul.

A new favourite song of mine is “The Long Haul” by Sean Rowe. It honestly brings me to tears everytime I hear it. At first I felt a bit of shame in my unleashed emotions, but now I think I’m starting to think it’s gonna be okay. If you have a song, a movie, a person or a memory that can bring you to your knees – go ahead and kneel down, what’s a scrape or two if it makes you stronger?

And I never hit the Spring so hard
A new born song on an old guitar
And I know what it means to be alive

You drive me crazy in all kinds of ways
Love kicked my head and took down my name
Oh, what happened?

I feel so light and I move like a bird
Hard as a rose sharp as a word
Oh, I’m happy

When I die
Where I go I don’t know
Through the sky maybe down low
Whichever is for real

Ginga Ninja

If You’re Happy and You Know it, Lose Your Phone

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Did you know that the internet and cellphones, these wonderful, amazing, technological advances have actually added to people’s general unhappiness with what they have? We have all the information we ever wanted at our fingertips, a way to not lose somebody at the mall and a way to keep in touch with all the pen pals we ever met. Yet, often we feel empty…unfulfilled and unloved, why?

Well, the thing is…once upon a time, if you were out for dinner with your friends, you were only out for dinner with your friends. If you were unhappy with your job, your spouse knew it…if you were unhappy with your house, well, frankly, only your close friends, neighbours and family might know. Nobody cared what you ate for dinner, how many geraniums you planted, or how angry the old lady at the crosswalk made you. Nobody cared whether you threw a crappy birthday party, and lord knows, nobody wanted to sit through your boring vacation photos.

Photos were limited and carefully chosen. Ads were a novelty, correspondence a gift, houses were probably cleaner and more time was spent on passionate hobbies. When we broke up, we might have heard a rumour or two or bumped into them and their wonderful new girlfriend 5 years later, but we didn’t get the never-ending barrage of new haircuts, trips, weddings, birthday parties and flavours of the month like we do now. No, now we are all glued to our devices to one up another, see who is thinking about us, what’s going on, and to have 24/7 validation for the meaningless life we really lead.

Social media is a very dangerous tool. A tool that makes mothers feel bad about the birthday parties they didn’t throw, the cakes they didn’t bake, the vacations they can’t afford and the divorces they lived through. A tool that makes children feel less popular if they aren’t on it and pressured to do things when they are. A tool that makes single people sit through never-ending baby photos, stare into the eyes of happy couples and families and constantly be reminded of the ruins they didn’t visit or condo they can’t afford.

With so many more things than we ever had…and so much more access to friends, family and information than ever before…why have we created a society that is more discontent than ever?  Well, life is now just a big, public game of keeping up with the Joneses. Except the Joneses are now your elementary, highschool and university friends, co-workers, exes, some guy you met on vacation, some neighbour you haven’t seen in 10 years and some girl you talked to twice online. The pool of people to compare from is larger than it ever was and the access we have into people’s lives is overwhelming.

http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/facebook-can-make-you-unhappy-130814.htm

And I’ve had this very conversation with a loved one. A successful, but incredibly frustrated loved one.  Very seldom do people post photos of their children telling them they hate them, the moment they sign the divorce papers, the visit to the ER, the funeral of their father, or the day they were handed their pink slip. She made sure to tell me that behind many of these beautiful family pictures and smiling photos are bad marriages, financial woes and a general feeling of despair. But, would you show that publicly? Of course not, because that wouldn’t get you many “likes” now would it? And that would be too real.

No, we now live in a world of trying to convince everyone how great our life is, when in reality the people sitting on their front porches reading a book without an instagram account are most likely the happiest there are. They are living in the present, in their own life and don’t give a damn what anybody else is doing. They are the ones who despite being called dinosaurs are indifferent to Bobby’s barbecued ribs, Sonja’s newest marathon, Alex’s latest trip to Japan, or Tommy’s favourite beer. They don’t give a damn that they have less quote-on-quote “friends” and they don’t give a damn if their selfie was unliked or their slippers are uncool. No, on a Saturday, all they want to do is turn up the music, clean their house and remember what it was like to be a kid…and maybe, just maybe…pick up that cellphone…and call their mom.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

The Ginga Ninja

broken-phone

To Text or Not to Text

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to text or not to Text, red

To Text, or not to Text, that is the Question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to Suffer
The rejection and heartache of outrageous Dexting,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of iPhones,
And by opposing end them: to Text, to Talk no More

Now, I felt it was about time somebody updated this little soliloquy.  This thought came to mind as a good friend of mine was asking my advice on to text…or not to text a guy she is dating.  How sad is it for us that our modern version of dating is now Texting?  She had been feeling under the weather and hadn’t heard from him in awhile.  I asked if he had phoned, or emailed, or even offered to come and check on her in person.  The answer was No, he hadn’t texted all day.

Isn’t it crazy?  Our new version of trying to get to know somebody is through a little screen and the speed of our fingers.  I know that technology has added an extra element of hardship to what is already a really difficult pastime.  Very few people really like dating.  Those that do either want to be unattached or have already found a really solid partner.  The rest of us?  We go up and down weekly, if not daily, as to whether or not it’s all worth it.  The madness we feel when we think we are being rejected, the anger we feel when they are playing games and the guilt we feel when we just don’t like them back.  Trust me, dating is hard enough without technology.

Once upon a time you talked on the phone every few days, perhaps had a date once a week and then as time marched on you found yourself attending major functions and sharing social lives.  It wasn’t easy to meet people, but the selection was smaller and the attention more focused.  I can still remember when MSN and ICQ were the new ‘it’ thing.  I spent HOURS talking to boys that I liked on the computer instead of in person, but at least then it was the best, cheapest and easiest version of real-time we could have outside of actual interaction.  But now..NOW I can peruse my ex’s photos, check out the friends of my new crush and stare endlessly at that Facebook message box praying they are “into me”.  Since when does not hearing from a friend in two weeks mean they don’t like you?  In this instant-gratification, reachable-all-the-time world is when.

Now…we all know what everybody is doing all the time.  Our iPhones tell us when messages have been read, facebook tells you when somebody is online and dating sites let people message you as you browse.  All this real-time policing is a bit scary…maybe the book 1984 had it right all along, but Big Brother just took a very different form than we imagined…social media.

And yet, here I am using social media to spread this word.  In many ways, even though I need it to house a blog, even though I need it to keep a job…sometimes I wish there was a technology implosion.  Sometimes, just sometimes I wish things were simpler and that godforsaken smart devices didn’t exist.  Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish we could go back to the old days where you had an answering machine, or better yet…a notepad.no more texting

The Ginga Ninja