Social Media: The Cropped and Filtered Truth

THE INFLUENCE

My name is Jazz, a heavy social media user. And thanks to my company for requiring me to stalk the country’s top social media influencers, I have now been influenced myself, into committing the very curated, almost biased, sometimes a lie kind of #feed construction.

I have been converted, dragged to say the least, into the bottomless pit that is #feedgoals and #curationnation.

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And thank you very much to the decades of education and learning I have earned, that I now am able to differentiate what’s true from what’s “marketing”.

And thanks (yep I am not done yet) to Mocha Uson Blog and other bloggers for influencing me (albeit subliminally) again into buying the URL jazzyhappy.com and into sharing my own basic thoughts online. (k, the first one was a lie, I’ve had this URL even before mocha uson became a thing)

PROLIFERATION OF LIES

These years of reading blogs and articles being shared online have made me immune to any black propaganda perpetrated by different individuals (that’s right, people like you and me) who can try to make anyone believe that “menstruation is the cause of evil” if they want to.

Please. In millennial speak, “don’t me”. But, I am guessing that it is now time to debunk (read: make patol) some misinformation propagated by either social media haters or people who have real life insecurities.

And I am pertaining to the proliferation of the articles, or “listicles” about what should or what should not go into one’s social media accounts.

For instance articles that try to tell people to stop sharing things online. Why?

Say, a facebook friend posts a photo of his green tea. With a mundane caption “Greentea is life”.

The reality is. No one cares. Really.

But do we, the receiver of such message, have the right to put this well-meaning person down?

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

It may not mean a lot to all of us, but it could mean that this person has finally gotten a chance to take a break from the maddening paperwork all day and that this tiny, bland looking tea is the closest he could ever come to getting back his sanity – even for just a minute. This cup of tea made it into his Facebook wall because he’s having a great time drinking it, not because he wanted anybody to be envious of the 10-peso bag dipped in FREE hot water.

Any person who posts yummy food (oh yeah, funny how this is still an issue) doesn’t mean he wants to mentally hurt anybody who sees him eating that set. But it could mean that it was his first time in that restaurant, and that he’s genuinely thankful to his parents or his friend, for finally deciding to treat him with such a lavish plate.

Our friends who post a series of travel photos in Japan reveals how much they love to travel actually. Or how much they love Japan. In all honesty, I couldn’t think of any other reason why people would post travel photos aside from the fact that they  truly enjoyed the scenery and the company, and the experience altogether.

PEOPLE ARE NATURAL STORYTELLERS

In the old days, when people see a beautiful sunset, their heart overflows with warmth and gratitude that they want to share it with people at that moment but they could not. So they are left taking in a universally accepted, beautiful phenomenon all to themselves. Should they finally get the chance to share it with their close friends, they will only be picturing half of what that wonderful thing was, and at best, would only muster a simple, disconnected “wow that’s great” before proceeding to doing “more important things”.

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So what? Well, people are storytellers. It’s what makes the world go round. And delayed stories degrade the genuineness of an experience. That’s why old news won’t do rounds anymore. People have to tell the story as they happen.

Today we are blessed to have these social media outlets and gadgets that help us tell stories to one another without delay. It’s called “real time” update.

Sharing something, like a photo or an experience, no matter how big or small, is important to the uploader. And if the viewers on the other end feel offended, violated or misrepresented, then they get the option to block, delete, hide, unfollow, unfriend. Social media is making lives easier for all of us.

But no. Some people choose to sulk, laugh at, or much worse, judge the online friends who tell harmless stories.

Just think of it this way. He could have posted about how much he hates his job. He could have detailed the hours he spent waking up in the morning and still working late at night. He could have shared in gory graphics how his girlfriend cheated on him.

But no. He chose not to share those private thoughts, instead share this cup of tea to mask all the pain away.

SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE

Really, guys, cut your Facebook friends some slack. They are not online to wave their blessings, no matter how small, to your face. They are not deliberately hurting you and your ego. They are simply, sharing the best things in their lives because life is… wait for it…NOT perfect!

Yes. People post the best versions of themselves (kahit parang hindi naman lol) because it’s rare, thus precious.

So, a seemingly perfect vacation photo in Maldives for instance, doesn’t truly reveal the number of gadgets these people might have lost along the journey. It won’t say the discrimination they got from that condescending bar tender. It won’t reveal the tiredness from riding buses and missing flights. Not because they can’t. But because they only choose that little, limited happy experience worth the trip.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS AN ASPIRATION TOOL

If I were to choose one thing I’ve learned in my heavy use of social media through the years, it’s this: People upload only the good things.

Is that bad? Is that offensive? Guess what? No.

People crop, lighten, delete, add, color and angle their shots before uploading online. And it’s not a bad thing!

Why? Because social media, aside from it being inspirational and educational, is also an aspiration tool!

SOCIAL MEDIA CURATION IS BACKED BY THE BIBLE

It can be used to host a collection of thoughts on how people perceive or want themselves to be. And again, it isn’t wrong. In fact, it’s biblical! Whatever you think of, will happen.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

What does this mean? Did the bible say, think about everything – good or bad because this is life. We can’t just concentrate on the good.

NO. The bible says, good and bad exist. So think only of the good things because the mind is powerful. It will bring out the best version of yourself. Sort the good from the bad.

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Curation in social media is just like a girl having her nails painted. You know for a fact that without the bright crimson color, your nails won’t look as crisp and polished in normal days! But seeing that you have made the extra effort into making your nails look tall and sheer, makes you feel in control of your life! Is it bad to feel in control? Nope. 🙂

SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FOR THE WEAK

Finally, to put this blog topic into perspective, I have here a photo of a glass with water. Is this glass half empty or half full?

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Those who say it’s half empty, apparently are pessimistic (woops, sorry) and the others who see it as half full are optimistic and filled with energy! And they are blessed to succeed in life more than the pessimists would. I mean, who am I to argue with that, it’s on Facebook!

The point is, we see a photo and we give meaning to it based on our own set of experiences and personality.

So for instance, we see a cup of tea online. We can either think “Wow tea”and scroll along or think “ANG YABANG NAMAN NIYAN NAG-POST PA”?

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I think it’s more telling of who the viewer is rather than the sharer. 🙂

Think about it. 🙂

SO WHAT NOW?!?

When you see people post about their new diploma, passing the bar exams, eating good food (or not), sending a shout out to the world, sending an open letter to obama because he/she loves him so, post a photo of starbucks, thank friends for a gift he received, post gym photos, post baby photos, holiday photos and other things UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTABLE, even if they have to post it every day, AND even though no one else care, let it pass. Accept that they are happy with the little things they get to enjoy at the moment.

HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in screening one’s thoughts when posting online ESPECIALLY when it yields serious and negative results.

SUCH AS:

  1. People are only allowed to post their breakup goodbyes a max of 3 times.
  2. People are allowed to post their grief but not the photo of the dead body please!!!
  3. People are allowed to post political beliefs and political stand but not to the point of bashing another person OR another politician.
  4. People are allowed to post a “shout out” to their loved ones because they are so much in looove BUUUT based on experience, some relationships don’t last so unless you will be explaining in detail why you suddenly become silent after your breakup, I suggest not post the whole story in complete details.
  5. People are allowed to post baby photos and milestones. But just the big and significant ones. And something your child won’t be embarrassed to see when he’s bigger.
  6. People are allowed to criticize but NOT propagate hate and spread lies.
  7. People are allowed to post a rant but NOT engage in a personal, social media quarrel or drama
  8. People are allowed to post selfies, yes even bikini photos, but … ibagay sa itsura. haha

In short, use social media wisely. It isn’t for the weak.

*Photos credited to owners

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