226 Comments
Jan 16Liked by Freya India

Thank you for this post! I can relate to it so much.

My life used to be dictated by social media. Everything had to be Instagrammable and pretty. I realized that I was losing myself in the process of pleasing the world. So one day, I archived all my Instagram photos and cleaned my Facebook feed to the point that there's nothing there. And oh my god - the freedom...

Last weekend, I went to a cafe and actually enjoyed the coffee and the book I was reading instead of orchestrating the perfect angle, filter, preset of that one perfect photo I'll be posting on my feed. I looked out the window, contemplated, and relaxed, instead of getting all antsy about who commented on my post and how many likes I got. I'm so glad I left social media and never looked back.

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As the dad of a 21 year old girl, it gives me such hope that Freya's out here doing the Lord's work. Thanks for this.

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Jan 16·edited Jan 16Liked by Freya India

I sometimes wonder if social media has actually just drugified an old human impulse. People have always wanted to be “known” for something. To be remembered, to stake claim in others’ cognitive real-estate, to become a staple. But this was once executed by grand achievements or a life dedicated to backbreaking work- and it wasn’t pursued by everyone. Now, the pursuit of praise has a shorter lifespan, and even more frivolous antecedents. Now, rather than the desire to be known having its root in a sort of subclinical narcissism which was reserved for only some, it has become a part of assimilating into Western culture. People, as you have pointed out, are becoming conditioned from day one to seek fleeting praise and affection from strangers, and to exploit every moment for the dopaminergic rush of attention.

I find myself equally guilty. And unfortunately, the very platform that we are communicating on has made large strides towards acting more as a social media landscape than a literary one.

As always, your thoughts strike at something deep within our cultural moment.

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Jan 16Liked by Freya India

Excellent article, thank you Freya.

As a 72 year old man who is a keen photographer, I took it as obvious that I would photograph our first child immediately after birth. This was in 1989 before the internet and online social media, etc.

What actually happened was that I was so overawed by the experienced of her being born and taking her first breaths, etc. that I forgot about the camera altogether!

And when the midwife reminded me, I replied that it was too important to waste time taking pictures.

The best decision I could have made because we lived the moment and I still shed tears of joy when I remember it. It's our moment; not anybody else's.

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Jan 16·edited Jan 16Liked by Freya India

"The most meaningful experiences in human life—things that happen once, twice, never again—corrupted by thoughts like is the camera getting my good angle."

With marriage & parenthood becoming things we perform after a billion years of postponing and planning and optimizing just right..... it's not surprising but still so sad to see these sacred moments commodified.

Our engagement was quiet and spur of the moment — it involved a beautiful morning with a walk in the woods together, reading a handwritten letter, just a uniquely special and emotionally charged experience we could enjoy at our own pace together. What a loss to have corrupted it with a full photo shoot and worries about it being captured just right. Same for honeymoons and pregnancies (and other non-marriage-related experiences). These are super special and human experiences that only happen "once, twice, never again..." and some rewiring of our brains will be required to see them as those tender experiences they are.

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Jan 16·edited Jan 16Liked by Freya India

Thanks for your continued work of exposing how social media acts to distort our basic humanity, from welcoming a new life into the world to grieving the loss of a loved one and anything in between. The content you present should be an essential ingredient for developing school curricula on social media education.

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I deleted all social media in summer of 2023 (all I had left was Instagram and BeReal) and although it has been overall an extremely positive thing, I do struggle with the concept if it wasn’t posted / shared then does it even exist, especially as life is so fleeting. I bought a vintage film camera to document things instead but it’s something that I do think about. I am trying to concentrate on how life feels instead of what it looks like, but it is a huge transition and something I underestimated.

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Another part of the problem is that we insist on tokenizing everything. People tokenize memories so that they can collect them like butterflies, even though they're most likely never going to look back on them.

People record things because it gives them a sense of power over the moment. Like that New Year's Eve event in France (that video was horrifying). It gives people a sense of power and control to record the concert, the event, even though it's likely already being recorded professionally and 12 hours from now is literally never going to be relevant again.

It's a form of competition, of course, for status or a sense of status. But it's also just a sign that people's lives are so empty that they have to collect tokens to make them feel like they aren't.

Which of course makes the problem worse. Tokenizing your life completely removes the magic from it.

Thanks Freya

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I will be reading this out loud to my daughters on our snow day at home today. I need to read it to myself as well, as a mom who became enamored with social media ten years ago and was the mom scrolling instagram while her daughter nursed to pass the long nights. Now I see that my daughters feel like they must document their days- share details with strangers. It’s sad and I want to scream this from the rooftops.

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I have a nearly 14-year old son and I wish I could gift him my anonymous, messy 90’s teen years. The best I can do right now is model living my life off social media and being present as much as I can with him. So many parents are half present--I swear, your kid will grow up so fast. Instagram isn’t half as exciting as watching a human become an adult, and getting to know them at each stage.

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Freya, thank you. As the grandmother of a Gen z girl I find myself often wanting to scream at her when I see her instagram posts. She has both inner and outer beauty, yet feels as if she needs to compete - not with other young women for men, but with other women, period. Praying that posts reach far & wide, and make an impact.

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Jan 16Liked by Freya India

Very scary when you think about it. I wonder if there is a generational or personality difference when it comes to how one uses and consumes social media? It is disturbing to see intimate moments filmed and broadcast and I find it surprising so many people don’t realized content is planned and staged?

I am only on one social media platform and I do enjoy it. While I don’t post everything going on I am guilty of posting mundane things/things I enjoy. The difference maybe is I do go back and look at memories and old posts. I’ve gotten away from printing out photos and looking through my old posts I love seeing photos of my not so small babies when they were small or friends and our adventures of the past. I find I enjoy looking back at posts with people on them more and I don’t look back on stuff like what I ate recipes I tried.

The one thing I think might disagree with you on is the value social media can have for creatives and artists. I really enjoy seeing people's art pieces and projects as they unfold and I can’t think of any other way I’d have access to that. Liken ordinary people with talent - they’re not going to be showing at a gallery maybe a local coffee shop but then I wouldn’t have access.

TikTok and peoples obsession with it frighten me - I have a middle aged family member who is always trying to make their videos go viral (not a business account) and I always wonder why. WHY?? what do you get out of it? I find the people around me consume social media much more than they post, most don’t post at all.

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Jan 16Liked by Freya India

I agree with everything you wrote. This flaunting and revealing everything you do is so low class I can't imagine how desperate these people must be for attention.

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The families who post the college acceptances - the crying, the hugging. As if its an academy award.

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I love this post! It's such an important conversation, for everyone. It's fascinating how we feel the need to externalise every moment of our existence, whilst taking us out of the actual moment.

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Jan 16Liked by Freya India

And always in perfect makeup, because that is how the world operates, right?

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