I snuck out my phone like a cheeky kid keeping a little secret. My roommate was already sleeping soundly but I could not keep the blue light from this little smartphone from invading the pitch-black room. It became my habit to scroll through posts after posts before I sleep, in which became a daily, endless pursuit. There were rants, eventless thoughts, then family pictures and small reunions. I see I have about a thousand ‘friends’ popping up to prove their happiness and existence but none of them – indeed none – bothered this poor little soul who was watching aimlessly at their posts.
And then suddenly…I felt lonely…
Technology has its load of ironies. It is made to reach friends quickly but it has the tendency to isolate us from deep-rooted relationships. Research shows a link between Facebook and loneliness, which is now on the rise. But I surmise social media should not be blamed for the weakening socialization among real human beings.
Social media, just like any technology, catches our attention easily because it is speedy and accessible. Humans, natural braggers and procrastinators as they are, tend to leave everything in the care of technology, even communication. Gone are our penpal friends who would wait anxiously for our letter for months. There are no more mailboxes that would surprise us with the awaited cassette tape that would play dad’s deep, sleepy voice from the Middle East. Retelling a harrowing story would not be a struggle anymore because everyone could see that groundbreaking post that could be shared to a thousand more users. We have grabbed the wondrous and omnipresent opportunity the social media has given us. We have grabbed its invitation to create “The Platform of Me”.
Those posts, rants, selfies, pictures and videos are everything about me. Me, myself and I. You are my audience and you will just watch how I perform. I will let you react to what I can do and I expect you to like everything I will share.
Admit it. Pride is everybody’s hidden monster. We all love the attention. We all love the applause.
But the moment we become the “Audience Of You”, there is the tendency to be envious and longing. You should be on the stage with me. You should also be in those family gatherings, dinner parties and every fun event in life boasted by me. You long for me to say hello at least but it ends in a vain tragedy of self. Soon, it could lead to isolation, loneliness and then depression.
I immediately closed my phone before I began to spiral down in the dead of the night. I guess it’s time to unwind from every selfish thought that could toxify me. Then, I brought to mind a few friends I need to catch up with.
Don’t expect everyone in your friends list to worry about you. Just as I have said before, not all of them are your real friends. Such expectations could only disappoint us. But never forget to catch up with your real friends – and I really mean the real ones. And, oh, make sure you don’t end up just chatting in FB Messenger. Make the effort to show up, be present and be alive with them.