I have many bad habits. I have simple ones such as constantly biting the inside of my lip when I’m working. Then I have bigger, deeply rooted ones. I’m here to talk about the one that has been the most prominent as of late: social media. This conversation has been made many times. It’s now becoming common for people to take social media breaks- cleanses for a week or two to help reevaluate our dependence, desire, and the overall attraction to these social media sites. Good for them.
So my bad habit is that probably like many others, but I’m still going to write about it. So who do I follow? I’ve made a mistake- I’ve broken a cardinal rule- on who I follow. I truly believe I follow more “unrealistic” personas than actual real, human beings with normal, human lives. I follow more imaginary, “desire-worthy” personas that post the same things other imaginary, “desire-worthy” personas do. You know what I’m talking about: backs turned, Bali’s famous gate (or whatever), funny looking hat, so Goddam carefree. Now I’m not saying some people aren’t just truly carefree as much as they demonstrate- there must be people like that and I wish I was one! I’m just saying I’ve lusted over the wrong thing for far too long. (Note: Not saying these photos aren’t great! Just saying that they’re all kinda the same).
Also note: this is about my experience with social media. You may have a different one or a different opinion. I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
Jealousy Goggles: I’ve written about this before (in 2016!). (Here it is!) But in relation to this post, let me speak about one of my biggest flaws yet again. This happens to me more times than I like to admit, but I’m admitting it- again. I’ve been complaining endlessly, “why isn’t that me at that place” or “why do they get to go there when I’m stuck flying endless long turns?” Wonder what times I don’t have these thoughts going on? Bingo: When I’m the one at those places posting all the pretty pictures on Instagram. How fucking annoying am I. Don’t answer that.
Now before I let my rant take over, don’t get me wrong, I love a good, consistent Instagram. I love perfectly designed tiles that show the world Look Here I Am, World. This Is The World You Could Have, Too. But my problem is: they make me want it too much. To where I live life with jealousy googles on a good percentage of my traveling life. And I see other travelers/flight attendants live as jealousy- basically frothing at the mouth- because how can it be fair?
But it doesn’t need to be the “vagabond” lifestyle we desperately, secretly crave. It can be anything: the perfectly curated fashion blog where they eat so much brunch and buy so much coffee. (How can you afford so much coffee!?) Or it can be the financial aspect.
Because let’s admit, I want that. Obviously, I want to grow a following. It’s hard not to want this. I want to be sponsored, get promotions, and make money off of this. Social Media, instagram in this case, has allowed a new age of financial limitless restrictions. Post from wherever you want and as long as people “like” “follow” “purchase through the affiliate link”, you make a cut. Brilliant.
Everyone’s trying to sell you something. This is why everyone I follow is trying to get you to buy presets, purchase that random detergent brand, follow them and a million other creepily similar “creatives.” At the end of the day so many of them are the same. Although maybe I feel this way because I’m on this side of the gate (the side without #K followers).
Unless. You’re not. Sounds brainless. Because also at the end of the day there are people that treat social media as their own thing- from nothing to something but never, ever everything. A place to post photos once and a while, including that selfie. A place to be inspired, a place to be silly, a place to keep family updated, a place to be, oh yeah, so Goddam carefree because it’s just an application on a phone.
So what was my point about all this? Why did I go through this long rant? To bash social media- Instagram? Nah. I did it to bash my own journey on it, to re-evaluate who I am on there, to refocus on what I would like to see as I mindlessly scroll in the mornings (another bad habit).
And yes, I acknowledge that many choose not to post those “calm”/uneventful/ugly moments (ie: nonmonetizable moments) simply because they wish not to add negativity, sadness, etc. to the world. That’s fine, if that’s what they want. But let’s get real, that’s not very real. Others can’t post those things because of the sponsorship’s/followers count. Because for them, it’s an actual job. Still, if it’s right for the individual, then that’s what they should do.
Social media can be anything we want: advertising schemes, perfectly curated depictions of our lives to one day show our kids look how happy I was growing up, diaries, portfolios, inspiration boards, businesses, or it could mean nothing. It can be whatever you desire and on whatever scale rawness you desire. It’s a brilliant platform that urges you to be create, be open, and part of a yes, community if you so want to be. Also, in the end, you can’t please everyone. People will comment about lack of captions, too long captions, this kinda post, or that kinda post (wait I’m doing this right now, aren’t I?) But my point is: if you’re posting what you want- do you think it will even matter?
And these are the people I want to follow: those posting things simply because they want to. Storytellers, artists, friends, family, humans that act like humans- plain and simple. I truly believe you can have the best of all parallel words offered online; you can enjoy the personal parts along with the business aspects along with any other venture. The hardest part, I would say, is not letting social media consume you. I just want to follow normal human beings again and most importantly, I want to be one, too.
I like to admit I’m pretty honest about most things online. I share those long captions detailing way too much information on how I feel once and while, especially when I’m struggling, solely because I need an instantaneous platform to write it on. But often, I just want to be in pretty photos, one foot in front of the other, looking left, looking right, looking for something on the ground and smiling because ah! There it is!
So what do I want my social media to be? First, truthful. Both the good and the bad, the lows and the highs. Just plain truthful. Because who am I to depict my life as something other than what it is? I love my life and I want to share it as it is. Second, a place to reflect on and say Look how much I’ve grown. Look how much stronger I am now. Look at everything I’ve been through. Look at me now. Third, a semi-portfolio, semi-travel-themed, semi-advertising place to tell you that Here’s a new blog post! Click the link in my bio! (Well, it got you here!) Fourth, a place I learn to once again be happy for everyone and live life without those jealousy goggles. Oh, and somewhere to post random selfies I take.
Kevin has mentioned lately that he’s afraid the new drone we got will take away time and effort into living in the moment on our travels. Because that’s one other thing we’re going to want to focus on, one more thing to get the perfect photo from. He has a valid concern. So as I am writing I backtracked on past trips, reminisced on moments where I was more concerned with getting that “perfect” Instagrammable photo instead of just soaking in the moment for what it was- important and fleeting. Then again, visual and written story telling and photography are what I enjoy most in this world so how can I not care about these kinds of things? So it’s certainly a balance that I need to find but I’m much more determined now to do so as I revisit my life on social media.
Sometimes it takes too many photos and too much time to get “the photo” to post online.
Right now, I’m not doing much. I’m sitting on a three day layover which is fabulous after so many long working flights. I’m preparing for my trip to Iceland in September and I have to decide: what will I post? What will I share?
Well, I hope I’ll post the truth, as beautiful and raw as it all is. With of course, naturally beautiful scenery but hey, you can’t hate on the world being stupendous. Just on the preset I decide to lay over it.
What do you think, friends?
Let me know!
Until next time,
P.S. I’m looking for new Instagram accounts to followers, truthful ones- let me know if I should follow you.