If I have learned anything of real importance on social media, it is that everyone has a story.
Not too long ago I “liked” a Facebook page, Humans of New York. The page is run by Brandon Stanton, a photographer out of New York City who snap photos of people on the city streets and ask them questions. The question and answer, as well as the photos of these people are then uploaded to Facebook. Almost a million people “like” the page, garnering thousands of comments on any given photo. More often than not, I find myself enlightened by this Facebook page; learning the seemingly lost art of acceptance that has been all but replaced online by criticism people find acceptable to spew because their faces are hidden behind a computer screen.
That leads me to my point. Yesterday evening a young girl on my Facebook posted this status, and subsequent comments followed. You can see my name here as I know the girl who was arrested as a family friend. She was taken in for possession of various drug paraphernalia. She has a real problem, especially with the recent loss of her father.
Now what I did above was check out this girl Elizabeth’s Facebook. Her default photo was of her ontop of a mountain, looking out onto the unknown with an expression of peace, followed by the caption, “celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing.”
Looking through more of her photos, I noticed that she is one of the many young girls who are embracing this new-age hippie fad; a style that is superficial to the meaning of original 60s term. What these girls want is for their friends and followers to believe they are about self-love. Although I cannot say that all people are faking it, it’s clear by contradictory actions such as this status/comment that most are faking it. I see it online all the time. I read statuses and see photos of girls in self-conducted photoshoots rockin’ flower headbands, sitting in the sunshine, pursing their lips and throwing up a peace sign; in the same breath they are the ones criticizing those who they do not know, and sadly… those who they are suppose to be friends with. It’s a trend. An awful trend of confusion about their identity and own self-worth.
Maybe it’s “only” Facebook, “only” Twitter, “only” the stupid internet. But in a generation where social media rules, our identities are somewhat characterized by what we post… especially about others.
Maybe it takes maturity, time and the realization from our own battles to understand that no one is safe from struggles. I pray the fad of pretending to embrace peace and love and unison ends surely and soon enough.
Everyone has a story.
Some examples of Humans of New York
*click the photo to be able to read in zoom. do it!*
- 21 Moments with Humans of New York (twistedsifter.com)