“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” – Mark 8:36
Everyday, we are bombarded with social scorecards brought about by the rise of social media. Today, we often rate our social standing by concrete numbers: likes, followers, retweets, blog views, and so on. Due to the phenomenon brought about by Friendster, MySpace, and eventually Facebook, everyone, even ordinary, everyday human beings with the right filter and angling instantly become mini celebrities.
While social media has definitely helped us to stay in touch with friends and family and has opened up the world us be educated about what’s happening with the rest of the world without having to leave the comfort of our homes, the negative side effects of it can also be damaging.
Very different from the time when we were all still learning the ropes of social media, today, we are likely to create an “Instagram” world vs. our “real” world. According to Huffington Post, “Perception is everything, especially in the world of social media. In terms of perception, we all have an ideal self.” And as we engage more and more in these platforms, the more we are driven by competition to project a lifestyle that is quite different from the ones we live daily. The gap between our “social media persona” and our “everyday persona” widens and often we are entrenched in creating a double life of filtering, angling, and editing. While these skills are useful in creating young teens that are multi-hyphenated, it can easily corrupt a soul and take away the focus on what’s important in life.
Human beings, in general, are always in a constant search of approval and validation. We used to derive this from real life human interactions but have now settled for the approval of our little blue screens.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I crave for the likes and the follows too. But then I realized, what kind of validation am I searching for?
Has the “look at me” culture of social media turned me into a heartless, social media vulture? Am I hollow on the inside? Am I obsessed with doing things in order to have something to upload on my social media sites? Do I upload things to prove to the ones I’ve had outs with that I am living a good life? Am I constantly working out and dieting in order to look good in my #selfieshots?
Has this translated into my daily living, only concerned about what’s happening on the outside disregarding things like kindness, love, and service? Have I created a life full of glitter and gold on the outside without placing importance in how I’m adding value to the lives of others?
Has this social media behavior translated into my everyday life? Have I cared too much on looking beautiful without taking care of the core of who I am?
While I may not have concrete answers, I do know one thing: no matter how beautiful you are, or how lovely you Instagram feed is, at the end of the day, it all doesn’t matter if you don’t have a compassionate heart.
A “for show” life has no value if I don’t respect my parents, encourage others, or put others first. These realizations have reminded me of what’s important in life: the reality that it’s really not about me at all. We weren’t sent on earth to constantly be served, but to serve, love, and most importantly, be kind.