On an average, I see, tap or swipe through almost a few dozen WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook ‘stories’ each day. And while I can ignore almost all stories on the last two, WhatsApp literally tempts you to check them out, which I absolutely hate! Because barring a few, most stories haven’t added value to my life or helped me understand what some of my friends, family or acquaintances have been up to.
While I’m not an expert on the science behind what’s making people use ‘stories’ in the way they are, it definitely isn’t help me know what’s really happening. All I see is stories that talk about “why they don’t care about the world or what it thinks about them,” or “why some people suck,” or “what’s the ideal way to approach life/criticism” by way of memes, quotes and big/bold/colorful text. I guess I’m suppose to decode that or initiate conversation? Perhaps?
But then when I do, it gets awkward because I almost never get an admission that the other person is feeling depressed or is going through a rough phase and wants to talk. So, I gave following up on people unless it’s absolutely obvious (like one of my friends who posted an image of him winning an obstacle race recently).
What I’ve come to believe — I could be wrong about this — is that we love to post ‘stories’ primarily to seek attention and validation. You can whine and complain about it but it is what it is. Maybe that’s the best way to start a conversation instead of saying something like “if we haven’t connected in the past 3 months, message me.” I personally believe that’s a powerful call-to-action by someone who really wants to talk. Guess how many would contact him? Quite a few. And there will would be many more who wouldn’t respond.
And I didn’t realise it until yesterday — all of what I see everyday has for some weird reason developed a complete aversion to posting a ‘story’ myself. Though I’m totally fine with that, I also noticed that I’m just not putting anything out on any of my social streams. Not even pictures! Something that I so much love to click every now and then.
Perhaps, I’ve reached a stage that I realise adding more to what’s already cluttered doesn’t even matter. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it isn’t. What I do value is expressing myself without hiding behind quotes, statements or memes but use my own words, voice and presence (and some times images) to let you know what’s on my mind.
I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve preferred to blog and podcast over taking it directly on socials. Of course, I eventually will need to figure out a ‘social media strategy’ for putting the word out about this blog and the podcast (that’s in post-production right now). It probably will be something as simple as posting a blurb with a link. Sure, I might not get a million views/downloads, but that’s really not the point.
One of the astounding aspects of owning a little place like this is that it has liberated me to do what I want to do for myself, without worrying about what people might think. And I wouldn’t want to trade for anything in the world.