Social Media

It Is Not Real, But It Is Beautiful by Louis Holstein

Do I matter? What is the purpose of my existence? Who am I? These questions make us human. These questions separate us from the other species on earth. The human experience is constantly looking for meaning, purpose, and worth.

I’ve been wrestling with virtual reality recently. If you read my last blog post you can see why. I’ve become fed up with searching for truth in the lie that is social media. I use social media, and although I despise certain elements of it, I see it’s nuance to relationships and community. I recently dove head first into some over-thinking, indulge me for a second.

Disney's Magic Kingdom Castle
Parthenon In Nashville Tennissee

Over the holiday break in Puerto Rico, I stumbled across this lit-up tree. It was in the back of the garage and not inherently Christmas decor. I was mesmerized. The randomness of the tree, the lights illuminating from the tree, and the beauty of the tree all captured my attention. It got me thinking, “can something that is not real be beautiful?” Well, “of course,” I quickly respond. There are beautiful things all around us that aren’t real. Fictional stories, fake flowers, and Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, all beautiful things, but none of them real. It was then, in my list of not real, but beautiful things, Makoto Fujimura came to mind. He says this,

Beauty is the quality connected with those things that are in themselves appealing and desirable. Beautiful things are a delight to the senses, a pleasure to the mind, and refreshment for the spirit. Beauty invites us in, capturing our attention and making us want to linger. Beautiful things are worth our scrutiny, rewarding to contemplate, deserving of pursuit. They inspire- or even demand- a response, whether sharing them in community or acting to extend their beauty into the spheres.
— Culture Care, p. 32

What is beauty? According to Fujimura, things that are a “delight to the senses, a pleasure to the mind, and refreshment for the spirit.” In other words, we are talking about more than esthetics. Fujimura goes on to say “beauty is connected with satisfaction, which may point to the way beauty feeds the soul.” So can things that are not real be beautiful? Perhaps, but more importantly, are these not real “beautiful things” feeding my soul? If the answer is, “no,” then maybe they’re not worth my time.

I see so many not real, but beautiful things on Social Media. This twisty trail of thoughts has not only led me to a healthy view of those virtual platforms and art, but also to a practical approach in the way I interact with them. I can admire things that are not real, I just won’t spend much time on them- social media included.

Social Media is A Lie (and Other Reasons I hate Social Media) by Louis Holstein

[Warning: This post is one of my most informal rants ever. I apologize & you have been warned]

I’ve been off and on with social media like an unhealthy high school relationship.

A Brief History

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I have three social media accounts currently: Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In. I first got a Facebook account in High School, but after three years I had enough and deactivated it. Flash forward six years and I was required to get it again so I could manage multiple pages for my current job. I was able to stay under the radar. No one knew I had an account, so no “friends” to accept or deny. But Ashley began tagging me in pictures, and the friend requests started coming. I’ll delete it the second I am able to. I first got an Instagram account while in college in 2011. It was a new app at the time and Ashley was the only one I knew who had it. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn’t take long for Facebook to see the potential of the app and acquire it. It’s never been the same. I’ve been off the platform for as short as a month and long as a year over the last 8 years. I’ve never deleted it. I had a Twitter for several years through college and a bit after, but got sick of it and got off. There isn’t much to say about my Linked-In page except, do I look hire-able?

A 3-Point Rant

One of the most annoying things about Social Media is that strangers (acquaintances) are required to do absolutely no work to know (virtually everything) about our personal lives. Because of this, I have made a constant effort to make my accounts less and less personal. I know too many people for every one of those people to have the same amount of access into my life with little to no work. (Yes, clicking on my profile and scrolling through is no work).

Another annoying thing has more to do with me than social media, but I find it frustrating how much I compare myself to others. How can one blame them though? People put their highlight reel and at times my highlight reel (yes, highlight reel) doesn’t seem to measure up. Another reason why I work to depersonalize my accounts, I don’t want people comparing themselves to me. I’m not perfect. I don’t have a perfect life, and I want to do my best to not give off that vibe. 

Also, isn’t social media supposed to be social? Maybe it’s because of my 20 followers or whatever, but I never find a good conversation on social media. I love to hear different ideas and opinions, but when they’re poorly laid out in the comments, I’m left with more dissolution than any kind of fullness I would otherwise have in a face to face encounter. I’ll post opinions on Facebook and Instagram only to hear the sound of crickets, but then again this could be my fault because of my lack of friends. Whatever. 

Conclusion

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All this ranting to say, don’t delete your social media accounts. Or, do delete them, it doesn’t really effect me. What I do want to encourage you to do is not take them too seriously. In 2018 I came to the realization that most of social media is a lie. It’s a hard truth, but truth nonetheless. Whatever you do, don’t tell us you’re “taking a break” (as if anyone really cares) and then come back in a week. Did you really take a break? Did you? 

So why do I stay on? Not sure. I’d have to go deep down to find the answer (sad). I guess I think it will be some value to me down the road. (You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to let go of my perfect @louisholstein twitter handle). The main platform i use is Instagram and instead of updates on my life, it is now where I showcase my art musings thematically, three frames at a time. I try not to get on the app unless I’m posting or have something to say. That may sound narssasistic, but I just don’t get inspired by the various accounts available anymore. Inspiration for me is found in Gods presence, nature, people (face to face conversations), art museums, my wife, and music. 

I don’t know how long this social media wave will last but I’m thinking it’s here to stay. People want meaning and they will turn to the dumbest things to find it, social media just so happens to be one of those things right now.

- Louis