Friday, May 15, 2015

Half-truths, social media and a bit of humility

Source: The Outsiders - Vulture Magazine Dec. 2014 | Photo by: Damien Kim | Model: Daisuke Ueda

"Is there still room for the genuine and hype-free in a virtual world where everyone can edit their posts to make their lives look 'better' to others?" This question and a barrage of similar ones have continued to bombard my mind in the past few days. They were largely brought about by various posts I see on social media. Posts that were far from informative, and did not certainly feel like genuine sharing either. They were rather close to being boastful or showing off.

For instance, one person I know would post about finally going to the next year level in his law school. It received a lot of likes and congratulatory messages. What an achievement right? In a parallel universe, I would have commented, "Well, did you actually finish all the courses to actually say that you're done with the year?" From what I know, he has avoided subjects because of a 'terror' professors. Having said that, it's easy to conclude that person has not actually finished first year - because not all courses have been completed. Is such a post harmful for anyone who sees the post? A questionable no. But is it harmful for the person's integrity? An unquestionable yes.

So, do we really need to post every little achievement we have online? To me it's both a yes and no.

It's a yes if it's true. We'd all be genuinely happy for you. And it's always great to know when someone has been doing well. But it's a no if you're posting half-truths for the sake of hyping yourself, to get attention, and all that stuff. It's just simply wrong to fool people.

I remember that the other side of the spectrum also exists where you have those who don't like to post what's up with them on their social media pages, yet are totally slaying in all the things that matter in real life: they have high grades, they're in awesome jobs, they have great relationships, they've got awesome friends and family - all outside the coverage of the internet. I admire these people. A whole lot to be honest.

A friend I knew in the past few years has had so much success in his career at the age of 25, has had traveled countries people of my age would dream of, and is probably earning more than anyone's parents as we speak. Yet he never boasts about it on social media. You would never see a post of him going to Africa, America, Europe, or wherever. He's totally mum about it on the internet. It's always other people who have praised him (including me), but I have never seen him placed himself on a pedestal, or have felt that he acted as if he was better than me. When I see him in person he shares to me all these amazing stories so passionately and humbly that I find myself admiring how someone so successful can be so humble and grounded? It's amazing. 

Social media has really changed the way we see people. Or rather how people want to be seen. I guess 'likes' and admiration in the world wide web is easier to achieve that real life success. That's why I can't blame other people if they choose to broadcast their achievements. At the same time, I also admire those who have the confidence to tell the world these achievements in a way that is truthful, as well as those who simply choose to be humble and just mind their own business. Don't get me wrong: I don't hate social media at all. I think it's amazing for a lot of reasons. But I just feel that we don't need to hype ourselves especially in the material we put out is not really true. Because a truth whose major part was tweaked is not really a truth, but a lie.