Social Media: Purpose or Privilege
Today, as I scrolled social media, I truly debated if I should permanently retire from all forms of it. I don’t want to be inundated with targeted advertisements, repeated memes, or warnings of FOMO. But I was reminded that being part of this is to be part of the collective conversation, in whatever capacity that may be.
What people choose to share is carefully curated, particularly if one is some type of entrepreneur or is creating themselves as a brand. Only use certain typography, only share loves of 3 things and repeat, use the right #hashtags, or only post at certain times. It’s all a bit overwhelming. Some people post everything about their lives, which I sometimes am guilty of. These may be vacations, child’s first day of school or dance photos, meals at restaurants, and pet mishaps. One person who began following me only posts photos of himself and creates reels of his outfits for each day of the week. Sometimes we share into the minute nature of our lives, but choose not to expand into issues that may really matter.
I admit what I choose to post on social media tends to be in the realm of pilgrimages in all forms. Generally, I try to steer clear of being political. But as I looked at what some people were opting to share, I thought how trivial it was and “what does any of this matter?” Is it distraction? Escapism? What are we really doing here? And if I was going to try to post something, I want it to be something to inspire someone.
Therefore, I tried to post about one thing and it deleted several times, it was a time to either not post or wait for something to arise. I took a walk with my dog, and what arose was a reminder of a blog I wrote in 2018 after a visit to Israel and Palestine https://itonlytakesasmile.com/2018/01/26/banksy-anarchist-or-saint/?fbclid=IwAR0kW8_0GE4ELe89_O3AmEXAK2tXaQ5frsBSAnOcZVyPGrGtfuSi5umFBKg . It was a pilgrimage to one of the holy lands, since I grew up Catholic on both sides. In addition, it was a pilgrimage to stay at the Banksy hotel called The Walled Off Hotel.
On that trip, I found history, beauty, and kindness in the people from both territories, but my eyes were definitely opened towards another side of the story. I had written in so much detail, as it must have been directly after the tour of the refugee camp we went on. Re-reading that post brought to light the atrocities that have occurred. And so I chose to post images from that trip and put a direct link to that blog post.
Artists take risks by making political statements that may go against popular opinion. They may opt to share a new perspective through imagery, satire, or encouraging one to embark on an experiential journey. This was the case for Banksy and Palestine, at The Walled Off Hotel, known to have “the world’s worst view.”
Although we may not be artists ourselves, we choose to curate what we share with the world by how we dress, speak, spend our money on, and what we choose to post on social media. It is a privilege to have a voice in the world and share our opinion, as I am aware not everyone has this right. And so I want to encourage us all to think in what we choose to post and share or blog about can be intentional and full of purpose.
So often we are looking for our larger purpose in life, when what we have to do is look at the purpose we have for this specific day. When I debated about re-sharing this or giving an opinion online, my friend Lisa said “Make your global voice a witness to what you have seen.” Lisa is a childhood friend, writer, and activist. I admire how she shares frequently what she believes online, where I try to stay neutral. But after visiting 55 countries and 67 territories, it breaks down the walls of prejudice. Through pilgrimage you begin to see the commonalities of beauty, kindness, and curiosities in people. Sometimes, what I have found the most joy in was visiting places I was taught to fear. Lisa went on to say, “That’s the sacred of your travels. You get to see what, literally, almost NOBODY ever sees.” She is right, and I can take that for granted.
Travel posts are not meant to serve the world through jealousy of visiting places that are instagrammable. For me, they are meant to inspire, educate, encourage conversation, or even further questions. I made a vow earlier this year that I wanted my purpose in the world was to bring people to the sacred, whatever that may mean. And so whether that may be through working with people in a therapy room, sound healing session, through my writings, or even an Instagram post I hope people are moved in some way and can be touched to connecting more with divinity and the unity of humanity.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”-Anthony Bourdain