What I’ve learned about myself (and people) from social media in almost 10 years

So it’s been about close to 10 years since I joined social media. I signed up on Facebook in 2009 and Instagram later in 2012. Okay yes, I had friendster way back then too but the effect of social media back then was not the same. I was not as glued as I have become today.

I was thinking about the many things I’ve learned about both myself and general behaviour of people from my experience over the years.

Are people really what they seem to be? Am I really what I seem to be? How come she finds this person inspiring but I don’t? How come I don’t get as much attention for my caption which was way better than his? How can some people “quit facebook?” cos man I would feel super FOMO!

To share a few, here’s 3 things I’ve learned from 2009 to present:

1. People’s online persona are typically 20% of who they actually are. That’s totally fine because who said they had to be 100%? (Actually are you sure you want to see someone’s 100% true colours? Nahhh)

We all say this “Social media is misleading, people are not like who they say they are online”

Yeah, true. It’s not wrong though. There is no social media handbook, only morally conscious guidelines society tries to abide by. With that, someone may seem “always happy” on Instagram when in fact they are probably “quite judgy, unpredictably moody” in real life which is also not wrong. It may make it harder for people to like or assess or even just understand the person. But it’s not wrong.

–> What I’ve learned here is to truly get to know the person offline.

2. The numbers would be nice, but I prefer the privacy

My profile (instagram) used to be public, with hopes that my followers would increase. Yeah, I wanted more followers, more likes, maybe even be insta-famous. But at some point as my followers and likes did start to increase, I felt myself increasingly uncomfortable when unknown people would like my photo. Who were these people? Do I trust them? What if they misused the information I provided? So I…removed all unknown followers to give myself a peace of mind.

–> Your privacy is a right but these days it feels like a privilege. In any case, I’d rather not lose both.

3. The less you reveal, the more people can wonder. And that makes you 10x more interesting.

I find this to be incredibly true because that’s exactly how I feel about people. Information is so readily available these days, especially by virtue of people posting about their personal lives and suddenly you know everything about them, without actually getting to know them.

Like where you live, who you hang out with, what car you drive, what you do on a particular day, where you work, intimate posts of your loved ones and even babies.

–> It’s technically your choice, but it’s also your responsibility. Do you want to make yourself so accessible? Or would you like to leave room for the world to get to know you in a more safer space? (in real life)


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