We all love a good scroll through social media to pass the time and satisfy our idle minds, but the question is, at what cost? We live in the generation of instant gratification and double-tap validation. All you have to do is swipe up to RSVP for the weekend move, or tap to vote on whether or not your friend should buy the denim jacket she’s been eying in her favorite store. But is there a downside to people having access to your every move?
Yes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to social media. It’s an amazing vehicle to start a business, meet people, collaborate with companies, and honestly the perfect form of escapism from the un-glamorous aspects of everyday life. But when does it negatively affect how our generation perceives relationships, self-actualization, and our individual goals and aspirations?
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I often find myself in a weird headspace after finally escaping the blackhole of the explore page on Instagram. It’s kind of like, “Well… now what.” And I suddenly feel like I’m running out of time or I’m not successful enough. We are constantly inundated with images, videos, tutorials, and just overall unimportant content, that it’s unbelievably easy to get lost in the digital sauce. Because of the overwhelming amount of information we consume, it undoubtedly affects mental health as well.
After I had my weekly internal conversation about not comparing myself to people and to remind myself that at the end of the day that the internet is a separate entity from reality, I came across a very interesting video.
What was the video you ask? Well, it was the late Purple Rain Legend, Prince, talking about the hazards of the internet. He was giving a speech at an award show, mind you this was about 20 years ago, surrounding the fact that we as people and consumers need to stay woke.
He talks about how there would be a time where all we care about is the internet as well as the detrimental digitization of our lives. He references The Matrix and how it’s ultimately what the world is today, a simulation of endless patterns of mindlessness. Basically saying that technology will eventually start running our lives.
Can you say shook? It was so weird because it was almost like me watching that video was a message, to stay focused and to always keep in mind what’s real and what’s an illusion.
Ironically, the next morning and I wake up to a global frenzy about Instagram and how a “glitch” caused users to lose millions of followers worldwide. The crazy part is, that’s literally what Prince was talking about in his speech. Everyone was upset over virtual engagements while ignoring the issues going on in real life that actually matter.
To an extent, yes followers and engagement matter for people who run businesses, creatives, initiatives, and any other user who cares about their content. But followers do not equate to potential. It’s so easy to allow followers and likes to be a metric for success. However, don’t forget to place your focus on doing the work in real life too. The internet is great, but the world is also your oyster, so be mindful of where you place your emphasis.
Welp, this is your cue to go rewatch The Matrix and draw all types of crazy parallels to life today. I will leave you with this, if social media disappears tomorrow, will you still be able to sustain yourself and mental health? Food for thought. Thanks for coming to my TedTalk folks. K baiiii!
(Art by me. Follow me on IG @LexiShow for updates and creative projects)