Socially Seeking Approval
The damnation of myself
Oh, how I love this Haiku!! I wrote it a few months back and shortly after the official “launch” of Boot A(E)ffect. Up until this point in my life, I was not a social media user. Oh, yes, I had a Facebook page back in the day that came as a result of attending my twenty-year high school reunion. You see, I had actually lost touch with my graduating class for a variety of reasons, but was both anxious and nervous to attend the reunion and reconnect. It turned out to be a really special evening and so good to see and catch up with people I had either shared classes or activities with. During the evening, I was greeted with a number of “what happened to you(s)” since I hadn’t stayed in touch, followed by “you really need to join Facebook”.
The next morning, taking heed in everyone’s advice, I signed up for my very first Facebook account. A few hours later, I had someone I saw the night before (very briefly) “friend” me and ask what I was up to the past twenty years since we didn’t have much time to chat. I thought, “Really? You’re asking me this question on Facebook?” It was in that moment that I was a bit turned off by this social medicine. I think it’s because I’m someone who values quality over quantity as it pertains to a variety of factors in my life, with friendships taking the top of the list. And I’m also a self-prescribed introvert who appreciates the intimacy of a real conversation.
So, the story goes that I kept my page for a few years following my big debut, but didn’t do much with it and ultimately turned it off. I think the reason I saw no need for it was because it was a bit of a distraction for me. I was never “glued” to my phone scrolling the feed, but it just kind of haunted me knowing there was some constant chatter in the background of my life.
Fast forward five years later, and it’s time to “embrace” the power of social media. With the launch of Boot A(E)ffect came the introduction of its existence onto both Instagram and Facebook, with Instagram being the primary focus. Following my very first post, I found myself acting like a maniacal boob constantly seeing how many likes I had received. And the trend continued, post after post. And then the feed started to happen. I had been hooked, lined and sinkered. How is that someone who has dedicated a good portion of his existence to mindfulness, solitude and inner-knowing get so caught up with what people thought of his posts and what was happening with other people (who he barely knows or talks to)? Yes — this social media thing clearly keeps us connected, but at what cost?
I’ve taken some time recently to maintain a consistent pattern of posting content, but I try to leave it at that. I’m weaning myself off of the addictive search for approval. While I value its reach, I also understand that it’s really just a false sense of itself. For the true reach happens when we’re open enough to share both the good and the bad. And then have a real conversation about what was just shared so we can learn from each other, and lift each other up in the most intimate of ways. No tapping of the finger required.