Using social media to live a better life

Image courtesy of ellendv13 on Flickr

We live in the age of the selfie, of Facebook, of Instagram, of self-generated content. This isn’t unprecedented narcisism, as some would have us believe. It’s the modern equivalent of boring your friends with four packets of photographs from you recent trip. In many ways, the modern approach is better.

Tweaking an Instagram filter is fun. Re-taking a selfie until you get one without bags under your eyes might be desirable. Taking things further, learning about composition and the technology behind digital cameras, can be worthwhile.

But if we’re not careful, we can end up as a sort of fifth-rate journalist. We can spend more time crafting the adjectives than in getting good nouns. We can forget that media has content not just style. We can take a perfect selfie, on a boring night in. What memory will such a photograph evoke in years to come?

If we’re going to live our lives in public, through social media, then let’s use those things as a tool to help us motivate ourselves to live a better life. Let’s not put all our effort into the gloss, the filters, and the posing. Let’s put most of the effort instead, into doing things and going places and seeing stuff, so that the photos don’t need to be re-taken ten times until they’re perfect.

I humbly submit that a blurry shot of yourself playing frisby in the park with friends and loved ones might evoke more meaningful memories than a perfectly powdered bathroom selfie.

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