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Turning away from social media

Social media has taken over computers and businesses for the better part of the 2000s and I think it’s doing more damage than good.

There have already been countless studies that have come out talking about the negative effect social media can have on people, most of all impressionable children who spend a good portion of the day online. It can be hard not to get lost in people’s Instagram stories, their snaps, their tweets, or their Facebook posts. Every thought needs to be shared, every meal needs to be photographed, and every event needs to be publicized. But, when people are sharing the best parts of their lives without any honesty or reality behind it, how can we tell their real life from their fake one?

It’s no wonder that children feel the need to seem “cooler” or like their lives are a mosaic of interesting things and nothing but. When their friends or their enemies are posting all the highlights from their lives, how could you not feel crappy about your own? It’s not like you get to speak to people for your job or go to all these cool events or get free things on account of your blog. If only there was some way to make it all better, right?

But, what people fail to realize is that no one’s life is perfect. It can be hard to see and realize this when you see nothing but the good things about someone’s life, but that doesn’t mean their lives are only the things that you see. There’s heartbreak, paranoia, bad moods, dark circles, blemishes, and meals that didn’t quite reach the Instagram-worthy cut.

Everyone is so wrapped up in pretending to be something they’re not or trying to match the highlights of their friends. Not only do we miss a great chunk of our lives doing this, but we remain in a constant state of competition for no good reason.

I made my social media profiles public when I first took this job, but I quickly realized how unhappy that was making me. It’s not like all I do is see the CN Tower, eat nice food, and go to concerts. In fact, it takes more effort pretending that that’s what my life is. To only capture the social media moments is a sure-fire way to guarantee that you’ll see life through the lens of an audience instead of living for yourself. Who wants to do that? Why would you want to do that?

There’s nothing wrong with taking the time for yourself and accepting that even if you aren’t as interesting as the people online, at least you’re living your life for you and no one else.

Hang up on your social media hang-out

Has social media made it easier to make friends, or is it even more difficult with our mobile devices in hand?

Technology has vastly changed the way younger generations make friends. With the overconsumption of various social media apps ranging from Facebook to Snapchat, the rules have changed on the how-to’s of finding your bestie.

There are many pros and cons of the social media world people live in today. There is a lot of accessibility, opportunity, and connection that can happen because of computers and cellphones. On the other hand, these positive developments in technology are also paired with pressure to constantly be plugged in and responsive, resulting in face to face interactions becoming less valued. Remember when people used to call a friend’s house and make plans in order to hang out? Now, it’s possible to have a Skype date with a friend across the world and watch a movie without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Though there are perks to social media, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out. Call me a skeptic, but I’m very hesitant about social media. There is something innately creepy about having your every breathing moment tracked online. It’s also clear that people are addicted to their phones. It also puts more pressure on friendships. If someone doesn’t answer immediately, it is quickly assumed that something is wrong (guilty as charged). This need for immediacy and instant gratification creates a lot of issues and useless drama. It is also anxiety provoking to be expected to be available at all times.

It is all too easy to hide behind the computer screen and utter disrespectful statements on a whim that would never fly in person. Social media’s accessibility has made people quicker to cut another person off permanently with the flick of a button. Being able to ‘block’ someone so easily or bully them online has caused a lot of hurt, and instigates more issues. I’d like to believe that most people are decent human beings, but online communication can turn even the kindest friend into a ruthless beast if an argument occurs over the interweb. The golden rule folks: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

So far, I’ve only touched on the direct affects of social media on friendships, but there are also a a lot of unusual rules and social patterns developing. Instead of watching concerts, people are often too busy taking a video of themselves being “cool” or appearing “valued.” When people hang out in groups, oftentimes it feels like the other person isn’t there because of the phone they can’t tear their eyes from. And of course, there is the “don’t eat until I’ve taken three dozen photos for my Instagram” phase.

It is time to put down the phone or computer! Relying on social media to build and maintain friendships is not the way to go. Instead, try the good old-fashioned in person hang-out without phones. You will find yourself looking at the world in a whole new way without any distractions in your face. There is still hope for people to interact without a social media hang-up, all is not lost, but it is vital to put down your phone first.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

What it means to be an attention wh*re and what you can do about it

I don’t know about you guys, but if I see a funny moment about to ensue, my mind automatically goes to Snapchat. My hands reach for my phone and I scurry to open the app in time. The thought of catching the laugh-out-loud moment in a 10-second video to share with my friends and family brings me even more joy than the actual experience. The comments that are followed by these said friends watching my Snapchats are not only fulfilling to my duties as a social media user, but almost makes me feel like I have a purpose in life.

And that’s a little sad.

But I’ve come to accept the fact that my excessive need to share things on social media with my friends and family for validation does, in fact, make me what is known in today’s society as an attention wh*re.

It’s safe to say that the new age of social media has made most users “attention wh*res.” Whether it’s posting a picture of your face during it’s peak hours of fresh makeup and glow, or updating your status when you’ve received that promotion you were hoping for, it has evidently become a norm for people to seek confirmation for their need in society. To know that their contouring has, in fact, made a difference in someone’s life. To be told: yes, you are beautiful. You are smart. You are needed. However, the problem with this type of behaviour, is that is slowly makes its way into everyday, three-dimensional life. Soon enough, you find yourself sitting there, merely 30 minutes after you’ve sent your significant other a text, wondering why they haven’t texted back yet. It’s been thirty minutes, babe. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Watch an episode of Friends. Yeah, see Ross? Don’t be him.

I’m a writer. So, the attention-seeking nature in me was present for over a decade now. My career choice itself is a cry for attention. As Nayirrah Waheed so beautifully explains it, “If someone falls in love with my work, they’ve fallen in love with my mind.” And once you’ve taken the time to understand the true meaning behind that; I must say — it’s rather flattering. But, when I sought this attention in places they shouldn’t be sought, I began to understand a few things. I was wanting more than I was receiving — knowing full well I wouldn’t be receiving anymore. I answered to his every call and beckoned to his every need. He knew. He knew full well that even if I didn’t pick up, I would call him back. Because I wanted to. And once he knows that you want more than he wants, it’s over, ladies. Never tip your hand in the game of love. Get the f*ck out of there.

Although I somehow managed to exceed my wants, I’ve never been one to express my desires for them – to him. For one thing, I’m too shy to ask for anything. Receiving compliments make me feel awkward and telling someone about what’s bothering me is more difficult than pulling teeth. I don’t feel the need for validation in most aspects of my life- especially my fashion sense- and multiple people have labelled me as pompous. So, it’s quite surprising to think that I, too, have showcased being ‘needy.’ But, everyone’s ‘needy.’ It’s human nature. It’s why babies cry. It’s why women pout.

However, the key to being the right amount of ‘needy’ is knowing exactly what you need, and acquiring it without being well… needy. And if you can’t acquire it, even after an amount of strenuous labour that could have birthed triplets, do yourself a favour, and let it go.

Let’s stop hating on women through social media, shall we?

Over the past week, the world witnessed some rather high profile women get into some rather uncomfortable situations. And while life is bound to get messy at times, the problem with modern day society is that spectators are now able to watch the events unfold time and time again, while at the same time adding their thoughts and opinions on the matter — anonymously — through the click of a button.

And while this way of life has brought the world closer together and has provided insight on the mindset of today’s society, it has also allowed people to lack in forgiveness and spread negative dialogue. What hurts the most however, is to see independent, well educated and woke women engaging in the same negative dialogue – to criticize other women. Not only are we pushing the feminism movement back a couple of years by doing this, but we are doing our gender a disservice by dragging our colleagues through the mud.

Just last week, Qandeel Baloch split the world in two after being strangled by her brother because of the “kind of pictures she had been posting online.” Like many of you, I found myself scrolling through the deceased social media star’s Instagram, coming across sexually suggestive pictures and videos of an attractive South Asian woman boldly expressing herself.  The think pieces and blogs flooded my newsfeed, with comments from mourners condoning the death and asking people to take a stand against these types of ‘honour killings’. However, in the same comment section, there were people — many of them women — who felt bad, but understood what provoked her brother to brutally murder her in the first place.

“She was asking for it.”

In a very different situation, the Internet witnessed Taylor Swift being ripped apart by Kim Kardashian West on Snapchat when the reality-tv star posted a telephone conversation between her husband, rapper Kanye West, and what is believed to be singer herself. The topic of the telephone conversation was the allegedly misogynistic lyrics directed at Swift in one of West’s singles. Swift had previously released a statement saying she wished the couple would ”just leave me alone.” Kim, listen up: A hundred years have passed since this shit storm started and Kanye West’s single released. Since then, we’ve already seen you and Swift publicly lash out at each other, while the Internet followed along, taking sides. So why don’t you exclude us from this narrative, and give each other a call?

Because here’s the thing, ladies. There are a lot of women out here that are fighting for your rights and freedom. Women that are currently driving on streets they are not allowed to drive on. Women that are interviewing for a job they are deemed unqualified for. Women that are being utilized for their body without their permission. The least you can do, is offer a little support. They’re not asking for billboards of heartfelt messages with a hashtag, or a protest in lieu of every mistreatment that takes place. However, when someone is strangled to death in the comfort of their own home for essentially being themselves, it is not an invitation to slut shame the victim and justify their killer’s actions. She wasn’t asking for it. No one ever is.

Neither was Leslie Jones; one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters movie, which has been getting mixed reviews. Jones announced early this week that she was leaving Twitter “with tears and a very sad heart” after receiving racist and sexist abuse that she describes as her own “personal hell.” Her response to the incident was not only relevant to the situation at hand, but also to the events that have occurred in the past weeks regarding social media hate.

Jones called on Twitter to crack down on the hate, posting, “Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let spread like that.” She had a few things to say about the negative comments as well. “You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out. I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos y’all. Meaning people took time to sprew hate. I’m more human and real than you fucking think. I work my ass off. I’m not different than any of you who has a dream to do what they love. I’ve never claim to be better or special. I just try to do my job as best as I can. Isn’t that any of us yall. So Yea this hurts me!”

The question arises; how do we overcome this girl-on-girl hate? Social media has evidently fuelled gender violence. Comment sections will make you lose faith in humanity while trending hashtags will encourage you to take part in a social media cleanse. Imagine the difference we could make if women gushed about what they love about other women by merely swapping hate and jealousy for support and encouragement?

A big difference. Let’s start THAT hashtag!

What are your thoughts on social media hate against women? Let us know in the comments below!