There is nothing more the human soul could want.
I am surrounded by mountains with the sparkling sea lapping close to me and two of my favourite people in the world (my parents) just a few metres away. This is my happy place. I ignore texts from friends, blissful in my detachment from the everyday life. My phone being the last attachment anchoring me to reality is untouched.
And then, after a few days weened off, I return like an addict and through a few simple touches I am returned to world of social media. A quick scroll through my personal account and I notice myself physically deflate. The familiar and unjust feeling of FOMO trickles in and I have funny feeling in my stomach. The banality of Instagram stories, the narcism of the selfie is alarming yet alluring, and I find myself going down the rabbit hole that we all know too well until I catch myself and toss my phone away, furious at myself for allowing something so fickle affect my mood.
We all know the weird dopamine highs and lows that social media can release in us. It ain’t natural, and it ain’t mentally healthy. I think deep down we all know this, but we there is also a wonderful feeling of being connected to others. That being said, I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom and I have a lot to be grateful for from social media. I do feel like I have found my happy medium. I have an account that only a few close friends know about, and I am part of a community that gets excited about sustainable innovations, about secondhand finds and about package-free market shopping. Yes, we’re a niche and the Instagram algorithm diligently echos the message of the bubble of algorithm back to me, becoming like my own personal social shopper, but I have found other people that feel enthusiastic about clothing swaps, or using up the last of a moisturiser. I freaking love you guys. There is no way I would have been able to find you people and messages without it. Would the message of the climate strikes been shouted quite as loudly and fiercely without social media telling us when and where?
Because of social media, I have avoided the eye-roll of my boyfriend every-time I comment on the amount of plastic used in a documentary we are watching, or a plastic bottle by someone being interviewed. I have my own personal outlet. I don’t need to “lecture” other people on the emissions of a transatlantic flight quite so heavily. Sustainability has become more of a sexy topic so now it is something people want to talk about at the dinner table, but I am sure it has helped other people to find their “group”. It’s helped single mums find a vocation, it has made the consumer a dictator and it has helped us to call out something that is morally wrong, to offer another discourse to the media’s point of view. I mean, it’s invented the vlogger/ blogger. A whole new career path that did not exist a few years ago.
So yes, like a lot of things we need to treat it responsibly. Scrolling through Instagram for hours on end won’t do much for your mental health, just as eating two packets of crisps for lunch won’t do much for your heart. If people make you feel crappy we have the power to unfollow. Or mute. Curate what you see and protect yourself. I also have to remind myself that underneath every picture of someone #livingtheirbestlife, there is another story, another narrative.