social media

Have you heard about….??

Do you ever discover something ( like a song, series, food recipe, piece of clothing, any kind of skill ) that everyone was fully aware of since the beginning of our time on Earth?

Yeah, me too.

Nevertheless, you keep proudly talking about it, share thoughts publicly and basically acting like you single – handedly discovered a new planet in our solar system.

Yup.

Love it.

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Just kidding with  Despacito actually, I was seriously obsessed with it for a couple of months during its ‘prime time fame’, learned it by heart, but now my ears are bleeding just like everyone else’s. My Spanish has improved by 0,005 %, though!

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The Ultimate Satisfaction

Be careful what you wish for, it might come true!

It’s exciting to daydream about future plans, but it can get a bit too exciting when all of a sudden it seems like it may actually come true. I want to do that… one day! If I had a penny for every time I said it, I would be moderately wealthy by now. Daydreaming in general is my safe place, it can be completely devoted to details like someone’s shoes and socks combination, or it can lead to making up hilarious scenarios in my head. The leading roles sometimes belong to people I know like friends and family, sometimes it’s random strangers or even completely invented personalities.

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It’s all about the Fear

I do feel like there was a certain change in my mindset, though. I no longer follow the familiar routine:

I’m not ready yet, I’ll do that after I’m done with this thing, and then I have to finish that other thing, and then I’ll go for what I have always wanted.

Solving the step by step puzzle becomes exhausting and in the end I’ll lose the primary goal from my focus and that’s that, until the next time when I start it all over again. What lies beneath it all is the fear that derives from two sources – the natural fear of failure and more complex and contradictory – the fear of success. Overthinking is the mother of all failures, it is even bigger than actual failure because it stops you from trying in the first place and that is when you feel unhappy. Overthinking is the opposite of the best Instagram filters – it brings out only the flaws and worst case scenarios, creating scary endings in our minds before we have even reached the beginning. It takes a lot of time to learn how to wrestle with the ‘overthink’ demon and finally pin him to the ground. We all have this image of our ideal self in mind, it can be more or less realistic depending on our ability to be an objective observer,  but the more you stray away from that image, the bigger the frustration.

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Never Complain, Never Explain

The best way of living a calm, fulfilled life comes from not comparing your own status, abilities and achievements with others. Sounds simple, but we all know it’s not always THAT simple, right? I suppose it was easier to achieve in the pre-Internet era, but when it comes to emotions and ambition, people weren’t that different 20, 30 years ago after all. Just the other day I had an interesting discussion with a friend that made me think about the absurdity of the social media persona most of us have created. It doesn’t mean we are all ‘selling’ that filtered image with a goal to become a brand and attract audience, but even the intimate moments serve as a representation of something we are trying to emphasize. What we seek with it, to be more precise, what our online persona looks for is approval. Approval of our life choices, looks, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, careers and lifestyles. The next step, if possible, is causing admiration and, although we are reluctant to admit it, jealousy. Just for a day, or maybe only for a couple of magical moments that are captured and enhanced through the lenses of our super smart phones, we are the winners. Yes. Look at me, I love life and it loves me back.

Don’t Follow Leaders

I don’t know what I think about it now, it used to annoy me much more before, I guess I’ve learned to deal with it. Also, I follow the imaginary line that gives me a ‘warning’ when someone crosses is it. My closest friends never cross that line of overly exposing themselves while begging for approval and I am very grateful for that. It makes me feel at peace and destroys the anxiety from its roots.

During our conversations we got to the conclusion how real satisfaction is achieved. I call it a ‘modern-day ultimate satisfaction‘. The recipe? I get goosebumps only writing about it, yet it’s so banal. When something (or someone)  special happens to you, you don’t immediately share it with the rest of the world. Maybe later,  but here’s a crazy idea,  maybe never.  You jealously keep that information for yourself and cherish the intimacy, there are no Facebook check-ins, photo albums  Instagram posts, screenshots,  etc.  Whether it’s just a shiny detail that made your day or grand life achievement that’s going to make a bigger impact,  don’t spill the beans just yet.  There is something so appealing in a dose of mystery, compare it to a sexy outfit that can be revealing, but it’s not really showing too much. This feel good experience can’t be overshadowed by any amount of attention. When it comes to making plans, I heard smart people conclude that the more you talk about your goals and dreams,  it is less likely they will come true.  So, once again,  be careful.

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The Exploitation of Frida

One day in the late 1940’s you find yourself wandering around Coyoacán, Mexico and stop by at La Casa Azul where the rebellious painter lived and ask her: Frida, my dear,  what do you want to be remembered by after you are no longer living on Earth? What do you think the answer would be? I have a couple of versions on my mind, they are all connected with freedom and free love, determination, passion and obsession with life with all of its epic, exciting, moments, but also the inevitable downfalls, pain, sickness and sleepless nights. 

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I am happy that the legendary artist is getting more popular than ever, social media created an important passage for new generations towards her art, words and thoughts about honest love and intimate suffering. The aftermath is amazing, even though Frida passed away 63 years ago, her image and spirit are present while she’s considered as a role model and inspiration to girls and women (and some boys and men, because why not?) of all profiles, especially the underprivileged, misunderstood ones.

Commodification as a norm

Every medal comes with two sides, and the thing that is happening with Frida’s persona, just  like with many other important figures who represent resistance to the system of exploitation, is that they are all being turned into something completely opposite, they’re becoming objects of advertising propaganda. Just think of the irony of Che Guevara, the best example of modern era’s distortion of values – his face selling T-shirts, travel agency deals, coffee mugs, key chains, door mats, towels… There’s even a ‘Che chic’ expression for a fashion inspired by the great revolutionary’s image! The real person and the idea behind is lost, irrelevant, to a great number of people his face is merely a caricature, a pop art commodity.

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To answer the question from the  beginning of the post, I’m positive that Frida Kahlo would never accept the role of a commercialized poster girl, a capitalist icon connected to various products in most ridiculous ways. The last example I saw today, the one that ‘triggered’ me to write this down was a billboard presenting a young model wearing Frida inspired traditional Tehuana like dress with a flower crown and a parrot sitting on her hand, all very rich, colourful, with a big white 10 % SALE banner screaming from the top right corner. Naturally, there is no manifest mention of Frida, but the resemblance is uncanny. Oh, and when I zoomed in towards the bottom right corner of the image, I could finally see it is a commercial for a newly opened furniture store. What is the connection? What do Frida’s face, style and that poor parrot have to do with the new sofa or a lamp they would like you to buy? I have no idea, I’m pretty sure that the ad creators are equally clueless.  That’s the idea, to keep everything floating on the surface, as soon as you dig deeper, try to find any meaning, there’s a dead-end.

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Fake feminism

In Frida’s case the story is even more complicated because it all has a lot to do with commercialization of feminism and empower yourself ads. Empower yourself by buying our shoes, empower yourself by getting that perfume in a drugstore near you, empower yourself by choosing hair extensions from our salon, empower yourself… Ok, just stop for a second there and let me unnecessary analyse it. What does it mean exactly –  if I buy a T-shirt from a brand that currently doesn’t have the ’empower’ or ’embrace your beauty’ campaign going on, am I degrading my self – worth? And what about next month, when the brand I bought the shirt from turns to a different, for example ‘YOLO!’ campaign style while the others begin to embrace the ‘love yourself, be unique, but look just like everyone else while wearing our clothes’ mantra? Damn, it’ s like you can never win and reach 100 % on the empoweredness scale. Should I worry about it, probably not, but I do sometimes. I feel like I have to. Would Frida care? I think not, she would just continue marching on using her talent as a weapon of mass destruction in fighting every stereotype there is on her way to immortality.

Wearing Frida or Che’s face on your shirt is not really a problem, the question is: Do you know who those people are, how they lived and what they stand for? Or are you just wearing it because you like the colors and it looks kind of cool and edgy while their polished images are somewhat familiar and also you saw someone wearing it on a Instagram photo just the other day? If the answer to the second question is yes, take the shirt off and do some research.

Now I need to chill, hand me that Pepsi, Kendall! Cheers!

How many clicks per minute are you worth?

Click count, it has become a constant expression in everyday life of anyone working as a community manager or journalist, actually those two branches have intertwined to such extent they go along hand in hand. No matter how much you plan the time, circumstances or work on content you’re posting, if the post reach is not big enough, it’s all in vain. If not enough people have seen your work, if there’s no thumbs up reaction followed with a couple of comments and shares, it’s like you haven’t really done anything.

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Let’s take a step back from public arena to personal use of Facebook or Instagram where it seems that more and more younger people present themselves in terms of a brand, marking their opinions, clothes or lifestyle as part of the puzzle which represents their lives as a whole. Carefully selecting what’s ready for publishing, as if they’re working for a celebrity or haute couture designer whose image on the internet equals the earned income.

The point of it all is to show only the best parts of life, or camouflage the unattractive parts to make them look attractive, as well. Even when it’s all about presenting the ugly, it happens in a controlled environment with an ironic element. That’s how todays marketing mechanisms work – perfection on one side, aesthetic of ugliness which is more popular than ever on the other.

The problem with obsession with clicks in journalism is obvious – there is a disproportion between quality of content and public engagement. Why is that? A search for a quick fix of fun and distraction, maybe? Uninterested, stupid public who doesn’t deserve more than reading about reality show personas and their idle existence? I don’t think so, I prefer to think the six major media corporations and their collaborations with sponsors who finance the media content are to blame.

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I believe that this evaluation form most of us submit ourselves to voluntarily through social media can lead to strong feelings of insecurity and constant fear of being observed and judged from head to toe. That may seem like a personal, banal problem, but it actually affects social connections – relationships, friendships and people’s interests because in many cases they will choose to eat well or visit a special place in order to post a photo of it on some of the platforms. That way, more users will learn about you having fun and enjoying life, experiencing nice things among a small circle of closest people is just not enough anymore. The example of rich and famous whose egos go beyond anything imaginable show us the primitive core of human nature. The need to keep feeding the public with perfectly staged moments that should’ve been kept secret due to their intimate nature is unexplainable. All I see here is the need to remain in the centre of attention.

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Similar scenarios happen among ‘the normal’ people, but on an incomparably smaller scale, of course. With just a little effort and time invested into creation of ‘visual identity’, it is easy to get the necessary approval from strangers. The thing is, people won’t give you compliments so directly in real life situations and we’re lucky it is so,  just imagine strangers telling you how they like your hair, shirt or eyebrows. Creepy.

Becoming internet famous has become a real thing, it’s not just a South Park dark satire material anymore. Producing content with no meaning, lack of any kind of goal except to be liked and followed. Followed where? I don’t know. 

 

Hello, friend

It’s been a while. This morning I found an interesting article containing a list of free online digital classes. I was thinking about enrolling into some kind of class to learn the basics for programming or creating a website. Also, it wouldn’t be bad to upgrade my Microsoft Office skills, I’m pretty skilful in using Word, but I could use ‘some’ improvement in the Excel department.

Until my brother finds some time to help me with that, I think it’s a good idea to start with the simplest but useful subjects from the list I’ve discovered today. I will start with  the last one, No. 13 : Writing for the web, it’s completely free and the learning material is divided into 4 lectures which sounds reasonable to me.

My beginnings and gathered experience in journalism have already taught me about the main importance, although I don’t really remember much in theory. It’s natural that I’ve learned the most during practical work while getting advice from professionals and teachers.

I’ve mentioned somewhere in the previous posts that I share a project with two friends from my year at Uni, we started it to get extra points in a social media course, but nevertheless continued to work on it afterwards. I will go into details in one of the future posts, but for now I will just stress that I have to able to find appropriate content and post it on our social network profiles, make new contacts, write reviews, promote our brand, conduct interviews and find people to work with. There’s also communicating with our followers and being ready to react well in risky situations. It’s basically community management combined with field work so it’s safe to say learning new digital media skills is an absolute priority for me.

Of course, there are lots of things you can learn by yourself, every interested person with an Internet access can do it, but I like to learn things old-fashioned way and getting assignments and stuff. Apart from that, I hope I’ll get to learn some useful tricks and hacks (Mr. Robot withdrawal syndrome is kicking in again, sorry) that I will proudly present here.

Btw, the geek in me is happy because I’ll ge to take notes which I really like if the topic is not boring me to death. I’ve just applied, the class starts on September the 12th and lasts until the 11th October. Woooo, can’t wait!

Knowing how to write well is an important skill for just about anything, but have you ever considered that doing it for the web requires even more thought and energy? Because we look for quick answers on the Internet and social media nowadays, online content has to be short, engaging, helpful, applicable, and easy to find all at once. This course will help just about anyone — from journalists to technical writers to developers to aspiring bloggers — create content that really engages.