I find myself at Park Güell in Barcelona with a fantastic view of the city but watching the flocks of tourists instead. I watch as countless spin themselves around taking a full 360 panorama with their phone attached to the end of a go-go gadget extendo pole. It’s apparently the new essential travel accessory - the Selfie Stick.
I would love to see these peoples Facebook albums, I really would. I don’t think I have any Selfie Stick friends on my Facebook as of yet, but I can’t wait for the day. Stoked to have full albums of nothing but people's faces showing up on my Facebook feed.
Imagine finding old Selfie Stick photos: ‘Oh honey look at this.. photos from our honeymoon to Rome!! Look there’s our two faces together with some round old building in the back. Oh wow and here’s our two faces again, are we on a boat or something? And oh my gosh look another 55 pictures of our faces, aren’t we amazing!’
Brooooaallfffffff. That is me throwing up.
Seriously though, what a horribly telling invention showing how far we (humans) have strayed in the wrong direction. I imagine the days when people used to simply appreciate the moment and life around them. That’s how it used to be right Dad? The days when you would cherish a memory and then maybe capture the scene with a photo. Now everyone's ugly mug is front and centre looking like one of those bobble heads they give away when your team plays the Panthers.
Social media has plain and simply turned humans into the most egocentric pieces of shit. Instead of making stories and friends we prefer to collect likes and followers, hollow of any lasting satisfaction or essence. The pictures that we see on social media have grown more egotistical as the photo taker has increasingly become the focus. The Selfie reigns supreme, screaming at us like an annoying 5 year old brat with ADHD 'Hey you! Look at me! Look how awesome I am!'.
When you are looking at these pictures later and reminiscing it’s not like you need a reminder that you where there. You took the picture! Do you really want to look back and see a thousand pictures of yourself? Is that really what is going to make you happy?
The sad part is I think that yes, yes it is. We have become so obsessed with our self-image that I seriously think people would rather look at a bunch of pictures of themselves over anything else.
I am not going to pretend I haven’t been brainwashed in the same way. I have noticed myself at times thinking about how amazing a profile picture something will make or how great a story this will be to share. I catch myself and wonder, ‘What is the matter with me? Why am I thinking like this?’. I realized that I have been programmed by social media to constantly be aware of my self-image. I feel as if I am constantly on display for everyone to inspect. This of course makes me exceedingly aware and concerned with the image I am portraying.
Although this is sad and worrying on its own, I believe there are even graver effects from social media. Our ego is put up against a barrage of amazing shit that everyone else is doing. I know that personally Facebook can make me feel inferior, insignificant and like my life is never good enough. Regardless of what I am doing, it seems like there is always someone with their life more put together and in a better place. It makes me question my own life and compare myself to others rather than just focusing on what makes me happy.
But when I take a step back and look at my own ‘life’ on Facebook, I think it looks way more perfect then I remember. I don’t see any pictures of being stuck at work hating my job or feeling down cause that girl never called me back. I have had the fortune to travel a lot in the past few years which has resulted in a lot of really nice looking life content. What it doesn’t show is the lows that came with it. The moments where I felt lost, alone, and confused aren’t a part of this ‘life’ display.
In turn this leads me to put up a wall about my insecurities and worries. I start to adhere to this ‘perfect’ alternate image that is my life on social media. I don’t necessarily ask for help when it is needed and my friends aren't necessarily aware that help is needed. I internalize the majority of my worry and put on a happy face that matches my online image.
So what is the solution? How can we break this awful curse, put our egos in check, and get back to reality?
While first and foremost, let's make an effort to simply appreciate moments rather than try to capture and share them. I know, I know it's crazy. But your friends will live another day even without seeing that daily sunset pic or vegan pesto pasta that you are about to eat. The really amazing thing is that when you do this, the moment becomes even more special. It becomes yours and only yours, no-one can take it from you. Try it out. That next cool thing that happens in your life, just keep it for yourself. Don’t even tell anyone about it. Ever.
Next step is to stop comparing our lives to other peoples, especially over something like Facebook. How your life measures up to another person's should have zero consideration in how you define your own. I am going to start focusing on my own goals and what makes me happy. It does not matter a wink how that compares to Dan fucking Bilzerian's Instagram reel. Define your own idea of success and strive for it.
Maybe I’ll even start to post some negative shit in my life on Facebook just to give it a little more touch of realism. Let the world know about this awful diarrhea that has kept me from venturing too far from home for the past week. Maybe a friend will even stop by with some applesauce on toast for me once they read it.
So if you understand a little of what I am talking about, join me in throwing out those ridiculously embarrassing selfie sticks. Let's kill that annoying tick telling you that you just need to share this moment, and instead start enjoying life as it was meant to be enjoyed:
In the present.
Conor D Selfie-Hater