Social Media Sharing, Human Connections, and Creativity

Social media sharing is a big thing nowadays.

People share posts, photos, videos, and god knows what on social media like there’s no tomorrow.

I also used to be one such social media sharing person, but then it got way too much—too annoying, too much time-wasting, and too much meaningless for me.

And so, guess what I did?

Well, I deleted most of my social media accounts. I no longer feel that social media and the so-called “sharing” are really worth my time. Let me make my point about social media and sharing by taking you to an imaginary situation. You with me?

Okay, let’s do this.

Imagine participating in a TV reality show.

The show producers have provided you with everything you need for survival: food, clothing, comfortable accommodation, and top-notch living conditions, with just one rule: You’re supposed to live in an isolated room. The room doesn’t have any windows. Not even a keyhole. You cannot talk to anyone. You cannot see anyone. In other words, you cannot have any human interaction whatsoever.

How long do you think you will be able to bear it. Not for long, right?

Our need to connect with fellow humans is as deep as food, clothing, shelter, recreation, and sex. In fact, you can sometimes stay fine without food, but if there’s no one around with whom you can talk to and share your feelings, life gets unbearable.

Why Do Humans Fear Isolation?

Isolation is feared among humans. Very.

And rightly so.

We cannot live in isolation. We crave relations, connections, and friendships. And most of all, a sense of belonging.

I don’t know if you ever noticed an interesting fact about prisons; they all work on the same principle: Isolation.

It doesn’t matter what fancy names they give themselves—penitentiaries, correction facilities, or rehabilitation centers; the concept is the same: snatch away people’s freedom. And that is why isolation is painful because it denies your freedom to connect with the people of your choice.

Now, let me take you to villages for a moment:

While working in fields, people sometimes hum or sing together. And also, in the evenings, they chat over a cup of tea or a hookah. It’s their way of unwinding and relaxing. Also, take any club or park, or a public place, for example. They are all based on the exact opposite of isolation: connecting. And you know what? The way we connect has changed over time. In fact, it has changed a lot.

You see, in the pre-Internet era, the narrative used to be local because people had little to no idea what was happening in the distant corners of the world.

And then came the internet.

The Internet Changed Everything

The world-wide-web was the first step towards connecting the whole world simultaneously.

It was nothing short of a revolution. And it didn’t stop there.

People were still getting used to it when social media was introduced. And guess what? It revolutionized how we shared our feelings, how we made our presence felt, and how we socialized.

In other words, it took the world by storm.

Today, on social media, you can share how you feel about a particular issue. You can debate, you can raise your voice, or show your concern on a particular topic. Social media did pretty much what it was supposed to do: urge people to socialize.

And then…

Something unexpected happened: people started expecting everyone to be active on social media. And that was somewhat stupid. In fact, a lot stupid.

The Tyranny of Social Media

Now, just because most people socialize doesn’t mean you also have to do the same, does it?

(Individuality, anyone?)

But, the pressure is there. I know because I feel it almost every single day. Here are some nuggets from my day-to-day interactions with people:

“What? You’re not Whatsapp? Are you serious?”

“Don’t tell me you have deleted your Facebook account. Really, have you?”

“Are you kidding me? You’re a professional, and you’re not on LinkedIn. Dude, what’s wrong with you?”

Don’t know brother, maybe I am sane, and you’re not (just kidding, just kidding). 😉

The Futility of Social Media

Now, imagine:

An ongoing conversation between you and your best friend over the mobile phone via WhatsApp. You’re speaking into a microphone, and so is the person on the other end. All in all, two voices are traveling via satellites.

Now, hold on for a moment. And think:

What’s human about it?

Nothing!

You cannot experience a person over the phone, for god’s sake (even if you see the face via video calling), can you?

What’s my point?

My point? It’s very simple:

Nothing Can Replace Face-to-Face Human Interaction

No technology can make it out-of-date, no matter how sophisticated.

Do I mean to say I don’t own a phone? Whoa! Don’t get too far. I do have one. But I use it for information-exchange only (well, most of the time) because I prefer to meet my friends in person for a face-to-face talk over a cup of tea or coffee or a bowl of steaming hot soup or a glass of chilled mango shake or a bowl of spicy Hakka noodles. Or whatever.

You see, I like looking into people’s eyes and watching them smile or making faces, or… you get the idea, right? You could say that I like to experience socializing in its totality. But, sure, meeting people face-to-face has its limitations. For instance, the other person might not be available when you have time. Social media, on the other hand, has no such boundaries. In fact, it’s available 24×7, 365 days a year.

But, here’s the bad news:

Having something available 24 hours a day has its own dangers. When you have something at your fingertips, you take it for granted.

And that’s exactly what has happened.

People took social media and the so-called sharing for granted. And to be honest, the hustle-bustle you witness on social media is not sharing in the real sense.

And why is that?

Because real sharing is not a passive thing.

Sharing is An Active Process

Now, hear me out for a moment:

What was the last thing you shared on social media? Was it even yours? Did you create that? Or did you share something somebody shared on your timeline? If you really want to share, you need to create something first—something that you could say was yours. For example:

  • You like funny videos, why not shoot some by yourself?
  • Are you in love with inspiring quotes? How about coming up with a few?
  • You go crazy over romantic poetry? If so, then why not create some love poems by yourself?

And no, for god’s sake, don’t think for even a second that “forwarding” what someone had forwarded to you has anything to do with creativity. No. No. Nooo.

“Forwarding” is Not Creativity

You see, the whole point of sharing is to create something worthwhile because if you don’t have something valuable to offer, your sharing is just a gimmick—a pastime, at the most.

Let me explain.

Suppose there’s a mango tree in a forest.

One day a weary and hungry traveler rested under its shade. He wished to eat mangoes, but unfortunately, the mango tree wasn’t interested in producing any. And so, it asked the orange tree for some oranges and passed them on to the traveler. Indeed, the traveler enjoyed the fresh, tangy fruits, gave thanks to the mango tree, and went about his day. Seeing that, the mango tree became joyous. But deep down, it knew that it had nothing to do with that joy. In fact, the orange tree’s the one that should get all the credit.

Instead of being just happy, the mango tree could have been delighted if it could produce some fruits of its own. It doesn’t matter if they were sweet or sour, small or big, juicy or dry or whatever.

I know. I know. It’s not the best analogy, but you got my point, right? And the point is that those fruits would have belonged to the mango tree. Its own creation.

The same is true for humans.

Instead of regurgitating other people’s stuff, why not create your own. It doesn’t matter what but create something. Anything.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Is Taking Photos With Mobile Phone And Sharing On Social Media Not Creative?

But, I do create my own photos. Selfies, you know?

Oh… that’s why you upload so many of them, huh?

Exactly!

Well, sorry to disappoint you, brother (or his sister), but clicking photos with your mobile phone and sharing them online is not creative. In fact, it has nothing to do with being creative at all. Want to know the real reason you share photos online?

I know you’ll hate me for revealing it, but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make. So, ahem. Here you go:

You feel you’re not good enough.

Now, now, now. Don’t be angry. Just wait for a second!

Think about it: Why do you upload your pics online, anyway? So, people could comment on them, right? And say what? That you were looking sooo pretty in the pink dress?

Hate me if you want, but even you are not sure of your beauty. And that’s why you need people to validate you. Well, guess what, princess? Even those people are no different. They, too, “share” on social media to receive validation from others. It’s a two-way street: “You comment on my picture. And I’ll comment on yours. Okie, dokie?”

(Read: “You scratch mine, and I’ll scratch yours.” I meant “Back.” What were you thinking? Oh, you dirty mind!) 🙂

Anyway.

If you genuinely want to feel more beautiful, then do something about it. Learn to love yourself, for instance.

Because social media cannot do it for you.

And please, please, please. I beg you. If you’re into sharing everything online, please reconsider. Please…

Your Life is Your Own Goddamn Business! Would You Mind Keeping it That Way?

What you do with your life is none of my business; it’s yours.

You see, I almost always fail to understand:

  • Why would you upload online the pictures of your Saturday afternoon mall trip?
  • Must your friends know where did you go for dinner last night? Like really?
  • Why do you feel the need to share useful “life hacks” that are nothing but gimmicks, anyway?
  • If you enjoyed a movie with your wife, or, ahem, whoever, it’s between you and her. Why would you upload pictures of you two munching on popcorn or sipping coca-cola?
  • What are you, a spy drone—photographing your life and uploading the pictures to your bosses sitting on your Facebook timeline?

“Oh, so you’re a privacy freak!”

Well, call me whatever, but my philosophy is pretty straightforward: Don’t sneak into others’ lives and don’t let anyone sneak into yours.

Why Are You So Interested in Others’ Lives, Anyway?

Is it because your life is not exciting enough?

Don’t you think that Instead of uploading photos to social media, you should work on your life?

By the way:

I know a couple who upload their pictures on social media like crazy. No, seriously. If they sipped tea, people must know. If they stopped by a highway restaurant, the people have the right to know. And if they just felt romantic in each other’s arms, everybody should know.

Whew! That’s insane, man.

Sorry. The nation does not want to know. Please, keep your life to yourself. And instead, do something worthwhile. Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a jog
  • Tend your plants. (don’t tell me you don’t have plants)
  • Volunteer for a cause
  • Clean your street
  • Learn a new skill
  • Complete your half-finished projects

Or whatever.

The point is: do something to make your life interesting. For yourself.

There are a thousand and one things you can do to make your life exciting. And believe me, uploading a selfie on Facebook is indeed not one of them.

One last thing:

Do something because you want to do it. And not because you needed a selfie with that poor person so you could announce on social media that you just helped a “needy” person.

Until next time.

Ciao!

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