Who’s To Blame?

So it seem like everyone lost their sh*t when Essena O’Neill ‘quit social media.’ In a vulnerable and honest youtube video she uploaded last week, the 19 year old confessed how ever since she was 12 years old, she’s been obsessed with being the ‘it’ girl. With hundreds of thousands of Instagram, Youtube and Facebook followers, O’Neill had it all. Or at least, she made it look like she had it all. She confesses to staging photos, not having to pay for designer clothes and being critical of her body and appearance, all to get the one good Instagram shot. The main message behind her ‘confession’ is Social Media is a Lie! But is it?

I’ve written about our portrayal of the ‘Ultimate Self’ here, expressing that we should be aiming to create more intimate and genuine connections with one another. And I genuinely believe that social media has the power and capacity to do this. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… these platforms have revolutionised the way in which we communicate and revolutionised our world. Literally! Twitter had immense mobilizing power during the Arab Spring and we see activism and hashtags crossing our screens daily, allowing us to speak up about issues that matter to us. So to hear the social media is a lie, is somewhat confronting and unnerving to myself as a content producer and a consumer of social media. I’m not defending social media or trying to attack Essena for her statements, but I think it’s important to think about what we can do as users of social media to create a better way of interacting with others and a more genuine and real world.

Self reflection is crucial. Source
Self reflection is crucial. Source

Self approval is the most important thing.

The world we live in is extremely judgemental. Whether we like it or not, we subconsciously judge people on what they wear, how they talk or the way they present themselves. We’re not going to be able to change that overnight. But the thing that we can change is the way we view ourselves. What’s the point in impressing others when we’re not truly content with ourselves? There is no point. If we constantly thrive off of societies approval, then we’re setting ourselves up for failure. And if, like me, you like running your ideas and thoughts by people, then make sure you surround yourself with people who share your values and are here to support you. Whether it’s a housemate, your Mum or your colleague, getting the approval from someone you truly know and care about is so genuine that it motivate you to keep going.

Be true to yourself. 

Stemming from self approval, is just being true to yourself. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves. Happiness is more than just an emotion, it’s a lifestyle. Doing things that make you happy, excited and full of life is so much more fulfilling than a superficial high that you get from likes. Stick to your values and know your limits but don’t be afraid to push them. At the end of the day, if you surround yourself with things that make you deeply happy, then you really can’t go wrong. Like the pictures says below ‘ let your smile change the world!’

Resilience and persistance are the key. Source
Resilience and persistence are the key. Source

Isn’t everything we see curated?

You don’t look up pictures of Paris and see it’s dark, dodgy and below average alleyways… you see the Eiffel Tower. Artists put their best work on display, musicians play their hits and we share our best photos. It’s not exactly something new that

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Life isn’t just a picture with a Valencia filter over it. Things go wrong. Life happens. And things certainly don’t go according to plan. Admitting that you may be struggling a little bit is the best way to ensure that you get the support that you need. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak or vulnerable. In fact, it means that you have the strength and bravery to work on yourself and seek to grow as a person.

With great power comes great responsibility.

To quote Spiderman here, with great power comes great responsibility. And not just social responsibility but personal responsibility to look after yourself. Following on from everything else I’ve covered, being true to yourself, surrounding yourself with positivity and accepting yourself for who you are. Social media is powerful so it only makes sense that people using it, use it with care.

Photography and social media should inspire creativity. Source
Photography and social media should inspire creativity. Source

So what does this have to do with social media?

Social media can either be a destructive or uniting force. It should be used to innovate, inspire and create. It’s a way of sharing our thoughts, opinions, emotions and values to our friends and the rest of the world. If we let ourselves get caught up in a superficial world of likes and editing the real you out of photos, we’re only setting ourselves up for failure. Through blogging and engaging in social media I’ve been able to not only express my ideas and connect with people across the world, but I’ve also been able to grow and evolve as a person.

It’s how we use it! 

But is social media really to blame here? Isn’t is us, as content creators, the ones abusing the power of social media? Are we the lie? Are we just trying to fit the mould of what society wants us to be at the price of our own happiness? Let’s use social media to our advantage. Let’s be strong together and create the change we want to see in the world. If we start with our own happiness, then it will be much easier to spread happiness and lead a fulfilling and genuine life.

Social media is only a lie, if we allow it to be.

3am Conversations

Do you ever find yourself engaged in an amazingly hearfelt, inspiring, personal or just damn real conversation at 3am? If you’ve ever pulled an all nighter and partied until the sun rises, then I’m going to assume that yes you have. On the weekend, I found myself sitting in the middle of a roundabout with a friend of mine and a skateboard at 3am. There were a few street lights on, and we just sat staring down the middle of the road getting lost in conversation. We talked about what inspires us, what scares us and our grand plans in life. And then I kind of learnt how to skate. I’m not sure why it happens at night, but something magical hits the air after midnight and you just seem to get lost in each others words. It was such a great and refreshing experience that I just had to share it with you! So here’s why 3am conversations are the best conversations and why you should have more of them. 

Add tea and you're ready for a greta chat. Source
Add tea and you’re ready for a greta chat. Source

Darkness offers a refuge. There’s no bright lights around, everything is cast in shadows and there’s no judgement or reason for insecurity. Darkness takes all of those away in the most comforting way. I think it also offers a small sense of rebellion. You sit there and through your peripheral vision you catch a glimpse of the time and think to yourself ‘man it’s late but I don’t even care.’ There’s something exciting about being up at 3am and it’s even better if you have someone to share that with.

Alcohol may or may not play a part. It’s no lie that alcohol helps you loosen up a bit. And it’s usually at a house party or after a night out that these conversations usually happen. You definitely don’t need alcohol to have these chats, but let’s just say as a university student, it’s quite common.

Openness. A combination of the above two things lead to you and the people you’re talking to being open, vulnerable, trusting and honest. You seem willing to share things with people that you wouldn’t normally share. More willing to delve deeper, self reflect, ask questions that you wouldn’t normally ask and know that you’re accepted for who you are. With this incredible sense of openness, you can just unleash anything onto the world.

I'd rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source
I’d rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source

Connection. With openness, comes connection. Whatever it is you talk about… travelling, studying, family, money, life or chocolate, talking about an issue openly creates a sense of connection with the other person. You get excited and inspired by what the other person is saying. And when you share your experiences, you see the other persons face light up with agreement. It’s such a powerful thing and this is why we must never underestimate the power of our words.

Long lasting friendship. The amount of genuinely amazing people I’ve befriended from one of these rogue 3am conversations can’t be counted. And it’s a special kind of friendship, because you’ll always look back on that one night, at 3am, when you were locked into conversation, as the moment you became friends.

Time escapes us all. You look at your watch again and suddenly its 4am, you’ve got to get up in a few hours to go to work or study and you wonder where the nights gone. The thing is, time escapes us all. In the end, we all just want a little more time. And don’t you think that time spent being open, honest and real is time well spent?

Bring 3am to 3pm… Just because these conversations happen at 3am, doesn’t mean they’re restricted to happening only at 3am. Bring a sense of openness, honesty and curiosity into every conversation you have. Be a little vulnerable and ask meaningful questions. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” These are the ones that people will remember you for.

When was the last time you had a 3am conversation?