By CHIA CHIEN TENG
A GROUP of friends decide to go out. They get to the restaurant, sit down, and everyone immediately gets on their phones.
On Facebook, a check-in at the restaurant: “Catching up with my besties!” They had hardly spoken yet.
On Instagram, a photo of the food: “Finally tried it!!” She hadn’t even touched it.
On Twitter, a status update: “Lunch with @friend1 and @friend2. Having such a great time!”
Today, we live in a world dominated by social media. Our need to live-report every inch of our lives runs so deep that our every tweet, Snapchat and Foursquare check-in is nuanced by our subconscious desire to improve our virtual personas.
How many of you have rephrased Facebook statuses simply because you thought it would appeal to the audience more? Simply because it had potential to rake in more “Likes”?
In the safe confines of our rooms, we now have the luxury to actively construct the identity we put forth online, a golden chance to recreate ourselves. The danger of this detachment lies in us becoming so obsessed with perfecting our social front that we lose touch with reality.
A couple years ago, I owned a blog. In its early days, it was nothing more than a diary, a raw and honest account of my day-to-day shenanigans. However, as the number of viewers started to climb, I was overcome by a need to impress. It got to a point where I would compose preliminary drafts and photo captions in my head instead of actually engaging myself during events.
I was so consumed by the thought of sharing my experiences that I, quite frankly, was left devoid of any real experiences myself.
At that point, I had become a performer in a show of my own life.
It was not until a friend pointed it out that I realised social media was not just shaping the way information was disseminated, it was changing the way we portrayed ourselves. It was nurturing a culture of exhibitionism which fed on our intrinsic nature to uphold our image.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the Internet. After all, what would life be without some good old stalking, right? But when we begin to live life through the lenses of our smartphones, social media then becomes a tool that detracts from life experiences.
I learnt the hard way that there’s a fine line to draw when it comes to sharing. Trust me, I love posting on Instagram as much as the next person. My only hope is that despite being so caught up in the advent of all this technology, we’d all take a step back to live life first, then share it. You’d be surprised at how big a difference it really makes.
*The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme, organised by R.AGE. For more information, and to apply to join the programme, log on to facebook.com/starbrats.
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