Accepting Some Home Truths About Social Media

Ceci n'est pas une pipe (an image from
I'm starting today's post with a little reference to 'Treachery of Images' - a painting by the Belgian surrealist painter Magritte. His painting is of one of those old school pipes, not dissimilar from the one above. Underneath is written 'this is not a pipe' as, state the obvious, it is in fact just a painting of a pipe... Groundbreaking. This may seem pretty random, especially in relation to social media but the point I am trying to make is that (1) not everything should be taken at face value and (2) there are a number of different ways to look at things. This idea can and should be applied to social media as it is not always representative of real life. Just as the painting of a pipe is not really a pipe, a photo of life is not always what real life looks like. Phew... Deep!

So firstly, be savvy with what you look at on social media. We all love looking at pretty pictures sure - but sometimes you need to remind yourself that a photo does not give you the full picture. For example a great shot of a surfer is easy to come by, but it doesn't show the second later when the surfer falls off his board. With blogging it is common practice to stage photos, and that is perfectly normal - but as a reader take it with a pinch of salt before you compare it to your own life. Someone once said to me that getting likes on a posed selfie is like taking happiness from the person looking at it thinking 'damn I wish I looked like that' - don't know how true that is, but it is certainly possible that in boosting your own profile you are making others feel inadequate. Have you ever noticed how disproportionate the number of club night out/holiday photos there are on your news-feed? That's because people don't photograph their revision or their down days.

It's unlikely you need to be reminded of this, but it is definitely something to be wary of... on social media your mistakes are kept for-e-ver. This is one my mother has drilled into me since I got facebook aged 14, and boy am I glad that my teenage whims and poor life choices are not plastered all over the internet for the world to see. I am currently thinking about applying for graduate jobs - the last thing anyone needs is for a dodgy post to pop up that shows you off in a bad light to potential employers. Your online identity really is important particularly seeing as companies are beginning to embrace social media, and twitter in particular can be a mechanism for networking. On the plus side social media gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to have a voice and get themselves out there on the market for a job, and nobody is more well equipped than my generation when it comes to navigating the internet.

One thing I hate about social media is the addiction - nomophobia, the panic you get when you aren't holding your phone, is a real struggle (yes they have coined a word for it). This not only makes it impossible to switch off, but also you can't escape your work or take a minute out from your life as a social butterfly. Does the weekend even exist anymore when emails come through every 30 seconds...?

Finally - once you've got it there's no going back. Now I have experienced twitter there is no way I could ever get rid of it, even though I recognize that sometimes I overuse it and it makes me irritable. Recently I have been toying with the idea of getting instagram - anyone who knows me will understand this is a big step because I am the kind of person who would pick paper and a pen over a laptop. Guess we will have to wait and see if I talk myself into it anytime soon...

Happy browsing x


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