I think yesterday’s post about Instagram was my most commented post ever. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so I guess this is an ongoing conversation. In light of that, I decided to share more thoughts about the subject. I was looking for an excuse to ditch today's bureaucracy to do's anyway:)
First of all, I would like to share my train of thought, or what prompted me writing about Instagram. It was actually my last blog post about change and anxiety attached to it. The blog post was read and shared a lot, and I got many beautiful messages in my inbox(-es) from people I know and those I don't say how helpful or healing it is to hear that they are not alone. There is so much more I could share regarding so many things and often, like yesterday, I think - I wish I could reach more people. Not to sell anything or to indulge my narcissism, but to HELP. When it comes to anxiety and similar disorders, talking helps a lot. Knowing someone you trust and respect is having the same experience regardless of their knowledge, yoga practice etc. helps. Knowing you’re not alone really helps. During my worst anxiety episodes, now many years ago, I actually moved out of my apartment and moved in with a friend because knowing someone was there was the best medicine for me at the time.
That brings me to yesterday's ponderings about Instagram and how I wish helpful and inspiring posts would reach more people, or at least close to the reach of those some with different intentions (like selling something or buying self-gratification). Yes, I wished my anxiety blog reached more people, but, remembering my friend’s advice, I thought that in order to do that, I almost have to sell a part of my Soul. Maybe I'm being melodramatic, but it's not far from the truth. And I know many of you feel the same. When you feel you have something to share or you do a great job but people don't know about it etc. it can be frustrating. But, that's the world we live in. Always was. That’s why Kardashians of the world have fame, money and, thus, influence and many who do good - don’t. Mark Twain put it wisely - "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." It's one of my favourite quotes, but I do wish a day comes when it will no longer be true. And that day will come when we all do something about it.
My friend and I, had that conversation months ago. It started with me asking how to get a swipe up option on stories as I started to notice it and thought it useful. She told me I had to have 10k followers for that one and when I said it seems like it could take years, she gave me a bit of advice on the fastest route. If I had asked how do I grow my community organically, without an agenda or a set number, she might have said - do what you’re already doing or given me different advice.
I try not to judge anyone who does follow and unfollow or does anything else for that matter. I just don’t think it’s right or fair for that matter. I know that for many, Instagram is super important for work. Some get paid to post stuff and I think - good for them! I know it didn’t come overnight. I know so many younger yoga teachers out there for whom social networks were their ticket to fame and thus - work. And some of them took that ticket, worked their ass off, studied, researched and became very good at what they do. But, if you are a yoga teacher who got where you are via pretty asana photos or videos (and not work experience prior to IG) and today you’re too famous to follow and support people who are today exactly where you were a year ago, I find that not very yogic or human. If you still follow and unfollow just to get more and more because it’s never enough, you should stop and think. Maybe you’ve just succumbed to the madness of it all and it’s not too late to turn back. Just because everybody does it, it doesn’t mean it’s right.
I believe social networks have tremendous power. I follow surveys about the raise of veganism for example, and I know how much activists helped raise awareness via socials and how many people became vegan because of what they shared. The decline in the use of plastic we’re seeing now is also helped by sharing the message via socials. Remember #metoo champagne? I'm sure that one evoked much revealing and healing. It's a great tool, but just like any other, it can build something beautiful or tear it down.
What I find frustrating though is the helpful, inspiring messages which serve the greater good are mostly buried under a pile of shit. Due to Instagram's algorithms, those who use every trick in the book to get follows and likes get noticed, and thus, their posts get pushed and seen, so they get to influence communities, opinions and what's worse, future generations. That's the ugly side of social networks. Also, as someone who studied Psychology, what I find alarming is that I see a great divide; on one side flourishing of narcissistic tendencies, on the other much self-doubt. But this is a whole different topic.
I think that, just like with everything, the answer is - be a conscious user and consumer. Just like with every coin you spend in the supermarket you support and give energy to something or someone, you do the same with what you post, what you follow and what you like on social networks. More you share your voice and more energy you give to those with the right intention who focus on the bigger picture and growth for all and not just themselves, more the awareness, consciousness and truth will come out and become more important than fake and untruthful.
Thank you all for your comments, for reading, for voicing your opinions, for your support, for your thoughts and inspiration and for being you. Let’s keep the conversation going, and let’s all work towards change for the better.