Hiding Out in the Open: Social Media

Somehow social media makes me feel contempt for people. I have a subtle sense of entitlement that there should be some regard somewhere for me. Additionally all these ideas float around in my head about what the person should and should not be/be doing.

What the heck is this about?

I don’t feel like myself when I text a lot of the time. Likewise, when I think back to my social media-frequenting days I can see that I was trying to squeeze myself really tightly into a box the whole time. I haven’t posted anything on social media in years.

I often perceive comments on Facebook posts to be a mess of meaninglessness. These commenters do not even know what they are saying. Sometimes I consider liking a post, but I always hesitate and turn away. I just don’t see this form of approval as representing me well. Or maybe I’m just plain rebelling.

Hiding Out in the Open

Social Media is a Class-A example of what I call “hiding out in the open”. It may seem like a way of self-disclosing to the world and being open and honest and vulnerable, but much of the time it truly is not so.

Instead, it is much the opposite: showing your false front to the world. Put out that clean, sparkly fresh (or slimy and greasy-- whichever you prefer), arbitrarily-produced image of yourself to the world. Let them think that you’re so fabulous, or modest, or rebellious, or whatever false ideal you’re trying to achieve.

What makes this sort of hiding even worse than doing so in person is the guise of social media itself, which has the appearance of being a place to be open and to be “yourself.”

If you love someone, forget what they post on social media. Texting won’t do much good either. You’ll perceive everything that they are not, regardless of how accurately they intend to convey themselves. It is just too hard to read people through snippets of incoherent text.

Unless this is a person you know to be truly honest 90%+ of the time, and who is constructing a thorough and complete message, how can you be sure of the intent or meaning at all? The most accurate assumption you can make of others on social media most of the time is some sort of fakery and defense.

Hiding out in the open is defense disguised as vulnerability, combined with self-disclosure in the disguise of honesty. Merely sharing information about yourself does not equate to vulnerability.

Or does it? Maybe it depends on how selective you are in what information you share. For instance, maybe you tell people about the six league championship titles you won. Maybe you have laminated newspaper articles on the walls of your bedroom showing off your glorious feat. But how often do you talk about the constant 20th-plus-place failures that would later haunt you, and that you’ve tried your best to rationalize and forget about?

Or maybe you do the opposite by discounting your successes for supposed failures. You’ve had 100 wonderful girlfriends, but you’ve been ruminating about that one rejection for months. You can bust out a trail-ultramarathon, but it’s killing you that you’re not so hot in a 5K anymore.

On social media this could look like posting about how terrible your life is, such as through a song-lyric status update or a picture captioned, “I’m ugly, please help! :(” 


(De)Constructive Communication

Communication is an extremely important part of life. Communication happens within yourself, with others, and with your environment (e.g. the natural world). Wherever the communication lines are awry and bad messages are being received on both ends something must be done quickly, or the whole show might just fall to pieces. When you have breakdowns in communication with another person, attempt to resolve the situation immediately. There’s no need for both of you to sit in confusion and frustration while you wait to get back to one another—that is, if you ever intend to.

If a whole medium of communication (e.g. texting) doesn’t feel right to you, consider letting it go. There are numerous other ways to communicate in the modern world, and as long as you have face-to-face I promise you aren’t missing out on much.

This move may upset some people, but it’s better for your happiness. Insist that people get in touch with you by some other means. Maybe even eliminate that means completely, such as by removing texting capabilities from your phone or deleting your social media accounts. Don’t remove your vocal cords or your body from this physical reality, though. I don’t want you to do that!

Soon enough you will be thankful for reserving yourself only for more direct and open forms of communication. We could say that romance is preserved in this way as well. It’s a lot easier to appreciate someone’s presence in your life and see them for the beautiful person they are when that presence doesn’t consist of 15 hours a day of “lol.”

If you’re receiving or putting out one pitiful message after the other, consider that you don't know what happening in the mind of the other person. Why do you feel the need to be dishonest? Why can’t you just say what you’ve been dying to for so long? Where’s all this anger coming from? What’s all this walking on eggshells about? Direct communication is the only way to be sure.

Once you make the communication, you'll find that all this mess was quite unnecessary in the first place. You can save yourself a lot of grief with just a little bit of talking.

Communication is the means by which we exist in this world. Everything- ourselves included- is information, and all this information is being communicated with one another (that is, itself) all the time. You are always communicating with something somehow.

You know what that means? Hiding is impossible. Messages of the truth- of the real you- have already been sent and received somewhere. Surrender to this notion and accept that you are already communicating with all that is, on a conscious level and on levels beyond your comprehension. Once you understand this there truly is nothing to fear in this world, and your need to communicate from fear- just as all fear-based things do soon enough- will vanish.

As for this blog... Assume what you will. :)