Image via Matt and Lentil’s Grown & Gathered Flower Exhange – a totally beautiful idea where you can trade your own talents or things for beautiful blooms. How great is that?!
I’ve been thinking a lot over the weekend about a lot of different things. Here are two of them…
Thing One: The Like Cycle
Wow. You know, social media has many of us wanting to pin our hopes on much-followed ‘online superstars’. Our new heroes. Yay!
The idea that follower/like numbers equals success feeds alarmingly into this equation. Not only are we sidling up to the much-followed more readily (because they have the numbers), the much-followed are reaping the benefits, being offered opportunities like book deals, speaking ops and ambassadorships. The legitimacy book deals, speaking ops etc offer leads us to take the much-followed even more seriously, even treating them as experts.
Around and around it all goes.
This ‘like-cycle’ is problematic. It ignores the fact that Instagram or Facebook followers/likes can be bought at the drop of a hat, that all may not be what it seems. It confuses us too, with some thinking – “Everyone else likes them, so maybe I should like them too?!” Big mistake. (Huge!)
As we scroll our social feeds, we see the things the much-followed-opportunity-offered-types are doing. We notice they seem to be behaving/living in ways we admire or aspire to. Before you know it, we get drawn in by all those pretty pictures. (Turn back now!)
We might find ourselves trying to fit their prescriptive/ill-informed advice or platitudes or jargon into our own lives, parroting or sharing or emulating the things they do and leaving ourselves behind. We might get stuck on their ‘numbers’ as a measure of knowledge or ‘success’, assume they are an expert in their field and deduce that we should listen up (when really we should take a step back).
I think it’s high time we all took a more clever, critical view of those crowned in this online ‘cult of personality’. Numbers do not maketh the expert. Being well-known does not mean you know well.
Let’s not blindly or passively give online personalities the power to disappoint us or mislead us. Let’s make our own smart decisions based on research and facts and intuition and our own cleverness. Let’s not share/like stuff from the people everybody else likes because everybody else is liking it. (Gah!)
Let’s be canny explorers of our own lives and likes and loves instead.
(Sorry. That’s quite prescriptive. Know that I’m not an expert and you can thumb your nose at me and work this out for yourself. I’m good with that!)
Thing Two: Daydreamy Wanderlust
We spend a lot of time wishing we were somewhere else, don’t we? I really think it’s true.
I remember reading a particular picture book to my kids when they were weeny. It was a Sarah Garland one and in it the mum sat in the kitchen and stared a travel poster or brochure with a cup of tea in hand. I think it might have been raining outside, even? I don’t have the book* anymore, so I can’t tell you the holiday destination depicted, but I can tell you that the pages totally expressed how much that mama wanted to have some time out in a sunny location. There was something in her gaze.
The thing is, I catch myself doing this too.
As I am living in our (rented) building in Fitzroy but I’m always thinking about the house we will move to next. I can feel the open rooms, the brighter light, the backyard full of trees, the quiet, the garage door. It’s so funny, because I have no idea what our next home will be like and yet I can feel it when I close my eyes or daydream (as I do the dishes or head to get the mail!) I feel it like the kitchen mama feels her holiday.
I’m sure it’s not just me and the illustrated mum. Lots of advertising and goal setting revolves around where you really want to be or where you’d like to go.
I think that’s ace, for sure, for some, but maybe not for me. It puts me in danger of continually defaulting to the daydream of somewhere else. It’s great to have adventures to look forward to, but I’m going to try to dream more about making the most of where I am.
That’s it really. Just wanted to tell you that stuff. Maybe it was weird, but I like weird stuff.
* (Maybe the book was Doing The Washing? I am not sure.)