Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Social Media Detox...

I've recently realised I'm addicted to social media.
 
I mean really, who isn't these days? Practically everyone I know is on Facebook, uses Twitter to get up-to-date information, and shows off how wonderful their lives are on Instagram. And as for Snapchat, that dog filter has become iconic. Social media has become an integral part of life. We wake up and check our social medias. We go to bed and check them before we sleep. And we periodically and repetitively keep checking on them all day long, refreshing screens to show us the things we've missed in the last 5 minutes.
 
 
However, for every good thing social media has bought me, such as contact with family and loved ones, it also brings me abundance of negativity. Negativity is contagious on Facebook. There is always someone airing their dirty laundry, bitching and moaning, and creating a breeding ground of negative vibes. These negative vibes are infectious, and can be a serious downer on our moods, yet we subject ourselves to this on a daily basis.
 
It's not only negative vibes bringing us down on social media. FOMO is real. FOMO (the fear of missing out) proves that nothing makes you feel more miserable than seeing all your friends having fun without you. And even though this might not even be true, social media amplifies this feeling, and makes you feel forgotten. We are constantly reminded that our lives are not as good, or exciting, or successful as the next person who comes along, and it's such a terrible feeling. But we are all guilty of trying to make ourselves standout, and boast about how wonderful we are to try and gain a bit of approval from others. I post on Instagram and hope I get enough likes that the names turn to numbers. I hope my Facebook status' get more likes than anyone else's. I edit my photos so I look better, or to emphasise my surroundings. Am I doing these things because enjoy doing it, or is it much deeper than this? Could it be that I base my worth on the acceptance of my peers. If so, then how do I get away from this?
 
 
My love/hate relationship with social media is too ingrained to escape. I'll admit that I do enjoy posting photos and updates, but I'm always conscious of what other people think, and read into, what I post. And perhaps it's all too ironic that my chosen form of expressing these feelings is by blogging now. Maybe there is no escape, and no way to discern between posting things to boost my peer-assessed self-worth and the things I post because I gain pleasure from them and enjoy doing so. Maybe the line is too thin between these two conflicting narratives for why I use these websites, but one thing is certainly true; I use them too much.
 
 
I'm fed up of watching my life through a screen, so I'm turning mine off. Well, at least for a few hours a day. I debated deleting a few social medias (I all but said goodbye to Snapchat and Instagram), before I realised my problem lied predominantly in moderation. I'm not going to go cold-turkey and block out social media completely; it's almost become essential to our modern way of living. Instead, I'm going to adapt my way of living, so I'm not waking up every morning and staring with bleary eyes at my bright phone screen, only to learn more useless information about celebrities. And trust me, I feel like I know far too much about Taylor Swift, more than I will ever be proud of. I'm cutting down on my social media time, and will be spending more time looking at the world with my own eyes.
 
It's time to stop endlessly scrolling through newsfeeds, filling my brain with more unnecessary information, whilst constantly seeking approval and showing off to impress people on social media. I'm going to embrace the world and find my own happiness, somewhere other than endlessly looping between the same social media apps on my phone.
 
(And yes, I will be posting this to Facebook and Twitter. This is something which certainly falls into the pleasure and enjoyment category rather than the attention seeking one.)
 
Much love
 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Make America 'Great'....Again?

Donald Trump has won the 2016 Presidential Election.
 
 
Trump. Won. Election. President. No combination of these words will ever make sense to me. Today I am filled with sorrow and disappointment for the US population, for those who wanted this to happen, and those who protest this as much as I do. I am beyond disbelief that a man who cannot even be trusted with his own Twitter account for fear of ruining his own campaign, will now be in charge of nuclear weapons and become the most powerful man in the world.
 
America, you now have a president who sexually abuses and permits the degradation women. Who makes jokes about the disabled and the elderly. Who is homophobic, and appoints a second in command who thinks homosexuality can be 'cured'. Who is thoroughly opposed to immigrants no matter their benefit to society and the economy. And a president who is a racist and honestly doesn't care about the Latino and African American population he now presides over. Trump does not believe in equal rights.
 
 
 
And perhaps the scariest thing about Donald Trump, is that this isn't really even about him anymore. He has become the face of a faceless movement, a whitelash, within the United States. His ideas have spurred on a collective, and he has brought out nothing but negativity among citizens. Many disillusioned voters have been persuaded by the wild ideas Trump seemed to almost make up on the spot during his election campaign, because of how wild and extreme they were. He is unlike any candidate America has been presented with before, which aids his popularity, particularly within those desperate for change. The core of his election campaign was based on fear and ignorance, which gathered a huge amount of momentum, highlighting racist undertones within the country just as Brexit did with us in the UK. People like Trump and Farage bring out the worst in people, because if you can't make people love you, you can certainly make them fear you.
 
I've had several people ask me why I feel so affected by this as a British citizen. Firstly, I have a degree in American Studies, and am completely passionate about the country, and will definitely live out there at some point in my life. Secondly, this will impact us. It's like throwing a stone into a body of water; the effects ripple out. It may not be now, it may not even be next year, but soon we will face challenges from this. Also, as a millennial, it is my generation that will deeply feel the effects of these global decisions we are making now, yet we are not the generation voting of this. Much like Brexit, the millennial generation voted strongly in favour against the eventual winner, showing the extent we feel we will be impacted by this.
 
 
 
So go on Trump, make America great again. When was America even so great? Was it back to a time where people from different races felt even more marginalised within society, with no rights? Or back in times where powerful women were unheard of? I am desperate for Donald Trump to prove me wrong. Despite everything he has said or done leading up to this point, a part of me must remain optimistic that maybe, just maybe, there is a chance that he could take this role seriously. That he will respect, be accepting and considerate towards everyone in the United States. And most of all, that he doesn't completely fuck the world over.
 
I am in shock today, but this is the hand we have been dealt. So it is with great reluctance that we must do our best to make what we can of this situation, and remain vocal so our opinions are not silenced by this decision.
 
Much love