A highlight reel
Social media plays a huge part in our lives. It’s the place where we share what we’re doing, where we are and who we’re with. A tweet about how sweet your best friend is because she bought you your favourite chocolate, a Snapchat of your healthy breakfast at six am, an instagram picture of your ootd and maybe even a Facebook update (if anyone does this these days) saying you’re flying from O R Tambo International Airport to King Shaka International Airport or maybe in my case an instagram story of the sun setting at the Pan.
But the truth is, all you see is a highlight reel. The best moments of someone’s day, a few seconds showing their best life, nothing more, nothing less. But how quickly are we deceived into thinking “wow, this person’s life is perfect”? I guarantee you this is not true because there is no such thing as perfection. Life is made up of imperfect moments.
I, myself, take 347685764 pictures until I get the perfect snap of my lunch because I, like many of you, need it for the aesthetic. This is absolute nonsense. If we spend all our time trying to get the perfect snap, we miss out on the beautiful, raw imperfect moments of life. I refuse to let this happen to me any longer. I refuse to succumb to the need for the aesthetic. I absolutely refuse. I know that when I look back at any of my favourite days, they’re days where my screen time was low.
I think that we use social media to get validation. We post a picture on our story in hopes of one person seeing it, instead of simply sending it to that one person directly. We sing praises for our significant others or best friends or siblings on an instagram post for everyone to read, instead of telling them personally. We’re very opinionated (and sometimes, on topics we don’t have enough knowledge on) for clout. We remove our display picture when we’re sad instead of talking about our feelings or trying to fix the problem. We post things for other people to see instead of posting because it makes us happy.
My friends and I were having an argument about emojis. Does it make a difference whether a person’s name has emojis or not? If you had asked me this one year ago, I would’ve said “of course” because the first thing I do when I’m mad at someone, is take away their emojis. But today, I will tell you that emojis mean absolutely nothing. All that matters is what you say and what you do because your actions must always reflect your words.
I love twitter, I find joy in sharing random thoughts and then finding out that there’s a bunch of other people who agree with me. I love instagram, I love posting sunsets and pictures of food and I love the touch of yellow in my feed. I love Snapchat, it gives me a glimpse into my friend’s lives and makes it easier for me to tell them good luck for a test and it makes it easier to show them the pretty sunflowers I found on the road.
Social media is one of the greatest tools we’ve been given. With a click of a button, we’re able to see what’s happening in Taksim Square on Snapchat Maps, check the morning traffic on Waze, say hi to a cousin in London and even interact with your favourite celebrity. The problem arises when you don’t see what’s happening down the road, when you don’t go for a walk around the block, when you don’t say hi to your cousin next door and when you don’t interact with the actual people in your life.
Social media is also not a true reflection of life. The candid picture you’re looking at took about twenty tries to get right, it isn’t candid. The actor’s face has been airbrushed and their skin tone made to look a tad lighter, it isn’t perfect. I guarantee you the chances are that nine out of ten dentists did not recommend that toothpaste.
So, stop! Take a minute and reflect. Live your truth. Don’t look at someone’s highlight reel and compare it to your behind the scenes. Be kind. Use social media to spread goodness, to create awareness about things that matter to you and to make someone smile.