Lockdown has increased our insatiable fix for vivid digitized technicolor is urged by our desire to dream. A world of skies you’d never think could get bluer, grass green on every side, water bodies calm as though they could never destroy, a lifestyle so perfect and unattainable, and a deep quote just when you thought it could not get any deeper. That’s the dream world of social media for you.
The rise of Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and the most popular amongst them all, Instagram, has taken over our lives in forms aplenty. Reality distorted, tweaked and coloured beyond belief. There is a constant need for perfection in social media; or so we think. Gone are days when experiences were confined to oneself. Where moments were personal and private. One can contradict and claim this habit to be unselfish. The world wants the world to see. The world wants the world to know. The world also wants the world to want more, to have more, to experience much and to show the world that the world is wanting, having and experiencing. I probably sound like Joey from the American sitcom ‘Friends’ during his speech at Chandler and Monica’s wedding.
Guilty as charged, social media is as ironic as it sounds.
We are no longer ‘social’. We would rather ‘touch’ our phones rather than interact with a mass of oxygen and carbon. Going on a trip? Check right in. Inform that friend who could possibly feel a bout of envy. Click pictures incessantly. Simultaneously upload them. What seems funny about the entire episode is that photographs are captured to reminisce the moment later in life. I remember a trip to a quaint town where I perpetually saw the place through my lens and had absolutely no recollection of having ‘felt’ the place when I posted my pics on Facebook. Ah, Zuckerburg! Another example being, the concept of privacy.
We document and upload our literal lives, unabashedly, and then limit views. True, I agree, the world is a big bad place and creeps lurk around every corner. Just saying. Despite my shameless ranting and rather human nature of blaming social media for our disconcerted selves, documenting travel is not new. Our early travelers such as Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Herodotus, had documented their voyages which served as fodder to historians in pursuit of well, history and their origin. Documenting food, however, could be. It was not a fad when you first saw those perfectly red tomatoes, butter that would not melt despite the flash of the camera, whipped cream whiter than Snow White and succulent flesh of roasted meat (What have I just cooked?). Making your tummy not just beat but rise up and jump.
We are more interested in getting the perfect filter to beautify food rather than enjoying the meal and being grateful. Public Display of Affection, or PDA has mocked me since forever. I see couples lolling over my wall like it’s their bedroom. Get a room, guys, I’d say but well, the concept of privacy has once again confused me. A lot of time is invested in watching the other couples’ relationship unfold on social media. Until one fine day, it is all over.
The documented love life has to be taken down. And commoners like me feel that I should have invested in better stocks. Facebook had introduced a new feature called ‘Onthis-day’, which would randomly select a decade old picture of yourself. The one you had rammed into the farthest end of the cupboard. The chosen one would then appear to yourself asking if you would want to share your memories to the world and remind them that you did look this way. Once upon a time. No thanks. But hang on. I thought Facebook also existed to store memories and now suddenly, you don’t want to be reminded or reminisced? Humans are strange.
To mortals out there, documenting lives have never been against the norm. But, breathe, dance, eat, travel, and live. Not on Facebook or Snapchat. Cherish and relive those moments sans lens or filters. None can ever claim or take it away from you. Taking a break from your alter ego on social media has never harmed any. If only, it has done well. Such humans have reported themselves to have felt better and rejuvenated. Just like the world moves on, social media will move on. Regardless of you documenting and recording your perfectly flawed life. And we should probably listen to Kahlil Gibran; Again.
“Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people sometimes ruin beautiful things’’.