How to become a better person offline + Social media and the Obsession [Bonus: Movie Recap]

[Inspired by the movie series “Selfie”]

One may argue that, in a way, social media has turned us into recluse beings. We live more in seclusion than the previous generation and have little consideration for bonafide outdoor activities – one without the intent to parade picture proofs all over the internet. The push for one-on-one relationships has long taken the back door if you think about it.

I mean, we don’t even exactly have enough hours in a day to make an up-to-date roll call on each of our media accounts in between cooking and bathing and sleeping, do we? Let alone personal relationships.

Read: Here’s how the internet features in a love story

In the 2014 series “Selfie”, social media was described metaphorically as a giant fingernail scratching one’s itch for constant attention. A remark by the lead actor Henry in a similar tone goes, “Oh look at me, something good happened, hashtag blessed. Oh look at me, something bad happened, hashtag still blessed. I’m at the gym, hashtag gym flow; I’m at work, hashtag workflow. Oh I’m standing next to a baby – hashtag baby flow hashtag circle-of-life hashtag blessed”.

He continued at some other time, “Why does our generation feel compelled to tweet every item that goes into their mouth … addicted to the instant gratification of unearned adulation from a group of perfect strangers who we insist on referring to as ‘friends’. These were all said while in a conversation with his friend. The conversation arose after witnessing the grand entry of a certain social media-obsessed coworker with a large following but loosed moral, who goes by the name Eliza.

Social media and The Obsession

The idea of becoming a better person was spurred by Eliza. If you have seen the movie, Ingrid goes West, she shared similar attributes with the lead actress, Ingrid, who led a stunted life off her social media pages, and had zero friends. She would get so obsessively absorbed in the lives of her online friends that she would suffer the illusion of being an actual friend of theirs when she isn’t. To the point of stalking and imposing herself on them.

Bonus Movie Recap:

For example a certain day a follower had a wedding ceremony taking place and had the pictures of the event uploaded on her Instagram page. Ingrid party-crashed the wedding party while on her pajama even causing a hullabaloo to the amazement of the wedding guests. She was infuriated she wasn’t invited to the wedding after waiting home all day for an invitation, trailing each new photo upload, and keeping updated all day long. Meanwhile, she was just a follower that the bride didn’t even know existed.

Read: Did you understand the last movie you watched

Social media Eliza and Rebranding

Eliza, a little similar to Ingrid, built her life on ratings from her social networks. The number of likes and comments she received from her pages acted as a means of upliftment to her. After a sheer embarrassing situation with her sexual companion, she decided to clean up her act a little responsibly so she could be taken seriously in the real world and in relationships.

She approached Henry for assistance as he got publicly honored for  achievement in rebranding a tarnished product into a highly marketable and profitable grade.

Henry, though the least enticed by her personality as her reputation as an obsessed social media trampster preceded her, agreed nonetheless. He took it as a challenge to reconstruct her as he did to the dying product.

“To change her packaging for the packaging of a formula. (Though not a pharmaceutical product) yet the same principles (of rebranding) apply. Soften her palette. Improve her taste. Expand her market. Transform this vapid, despised, social media, obsessed narcissistic to a valued and respected woman of stature.”

There were some killer points he released during the process that I’d like to enumerate. In some cases, expand on. The change/ rebranding process spanned through the entire season and it was frankly an authentic, stepwise reformation. The tips are hardly new, but they’re tips we need to be reminded of regularly.

Steps to Becoming a Better Person

1. Remember that it is possible to be beautiful on the outside and butt on the inside. Knowing this, you should understand that you don’t become approachable simply because you’re pretty. You need to make efforts to endear others towards you. If not, you’ll gather around yourself temporary accolades or transitional relationships. People who would be with you because of what they stand to gain from you mostly – popularity, visibility, attention.

2. When you come across a person, especially one you have to pass by regularly, acknowledge the person in greetings. Don’t just walk by mutely. The greeting could be in the form of exchanging pleasantries like “Hello, it’s a good day isn’t it?”, or could be a form of checkup, “How are you doing?”. And if you will, proceed with a follow-up question, “How did you sleep last night?”. Pick something from what they said and say something in agreement or sympathy.

If you don’t feel like engaging in any form of dialogue, it’s respectful to look directly at the person and nod once but gently. You’ll find that the person would respond the same way in acknowledgment.

3. When in the company of others, give them undivided attention. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact with whosever is speaking. Maintaining eye contact is what makes people think you’re listening to them even though what you’re thinking about is whether JayZ and Beyonce drew up a prenuptial agreement.

4. If you want to connect with someone, do a little bit of research and don’t be tone-deaf. By this, recognize the moment the person throws off a clue on their pet peeves or their soft spots. Find out their interests whether through the media profiles or actual physical contact. A comment by someone, “People used to need to go out with their friends to find out about their lives but now they can find out from their computer screen without any real human contact or conversation”.

Make the internet work to your advantage but don’t lose your self-control.

Read: What do you do with your internet time?

5. Develop a healthy phone culture. It has been said that “People who visit social platforms more than 58 times per week have more than three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week.” So the majority of the times you get an urge for a quick snapshot of what’s going on where you are, kill the urge.

Be about focusing on the beauty of it on your own. This way you could get enriched by the memory of the event and have a more in-depth story to share which wouldn’t constitute of pictures only. As added here in Men’sHealth, “This doesn’t mean you have to log off facebook forever, but the next time you’re tempted to leave a comment or ‘Like’ someone’s photo, pick up the phone or meet them for dinner and tell them in person.”

6. Foster other interests. Be the kind of person who doesn’t spend all time thinking about the opposite sex or shopping. Be a person of varied interests. Say Science, Politics, gardening, bead working, books, nature, find a hobby, join a club. Literally anything besides fixating on the other gender, clothes, or gossiping about events.

7. Cultivate meaningful relationships: When accused of being socially secluded as a downside of being less social media savvy, Henry said “I find it rather easy not to form personal connections with a city that only values wireless connections”. Being ‘friended’ is not the same as having friends. Be about pursuing real-life friendships as opposed to virtual ones, and make yourself bond with the peers you appreciate. In search of inspiration on how to make it happen, read 4 above.

8. Find a role model. Someone whose life you aspire to. Someone whose path you want to walk. This will help your intuition and give you an introspective view of how you wish to have your life turned out, and help you work towards it.

9. Don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate a conversation or small talk. A sad article I read on…the ability to use internet phones to check social media sights has turned places like coffee shops and cafes into non-social areas. Instead of approaching strangers to be entertained in new situations people are just pulling out their phones and checking their social media so that they can feel connected to others without actually being connected to others.”

10. Show compassion for others: people with less robotic behaviors are easier to connect with.

11. Have an awareness of common etiquettes: Don’t slurp while eating and if you have to, make pleasant conversations.

12. Answer these questions as honestly as you possibly can. Thinking about it, you’ll find yourself becoming more assertive, with a better understanding of yourself and around you. – The thing I’m most soothed by in life is …?

– The thing I’m most confused by is …?

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    1. I promise you, if you haven’t seen Ingrid’s movie or selfie series, you would both!

      Thank you for reading and commenting

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