What if we all decided to reveal a little more truth about ourselves?
That’s a tall order, I know.
For anyone who works in business, runs a company, or has an extensive social media following, working hard and bragging about it seems to be the norm.
After all, you really did put in a 100-hour week and why not let everyone know how awesome that is? You took an amazing photo, why not share it on Instagram?
The problem is that it’s not reality. It’s fake.
Cal Newport has written and talked before about how mentalism is the process of creating mental images of who you are, how you want to portray yourself, and how you view others. As you can imagine, this requires an enormous amount of brain power. No wonder we’re so tired. We create mental frameworks for everyone we meet, which can be draining.
On social media, however, that is not the case. We’re “mentalizing” a small portion of who we are, and it is often only the best parts of our day, our personality, and our activities.
Too often, the temptation is to report to everyone about all of our fantastic accomplishments. You scored a major deal for the firm, and now you are reaping the benefits. You bought a new BMW (or a really old one, in my case) and can’t stop talking about it.
I’m guilty of this like everyone else. I reach for my phone and snap an amazing photo, then my first thought is to share it on my feed. My first thought is not to create a mental image of what my life is really like, that I often take terrible photos and have struggles like anyone else. I don’t like to share my mistakes.
We know from social media experts that sharing the best moments of life has created a serious problem. For teens and young adults in particular, there’s a sense that none of us can measure up. If we’re all “mentalizing” a small portion of who we are, and that portion is only the absolute perfect moments of our lives, then it is creating widespread depression and anxiety. We’re only seeing 1% of reality.
One study found that teen suicide rates are climbing because young people can’t possibly live up to the perfect lives they see on Instagram and other channels.
My challenge: what if there was something we could do about that?
Before you sneer at the idea or come to the conclusion that we should all air our dirty laundry, know this: I am not saying we should focus on the negative. While that is easier according to science (it takes work to be hopeful and positive), I am saying it is okay to share posts that suggest we’re not perfect.
We didn’t land the big sales deal. The BMW we bought has high-mileage and might not last through the end of the year without a repair or two.
The truth is messy. It doesn’t always add up to a series of wonderful and compelling experiences, despite what you see on Facebook.
The author Ryan Holiday has written many times about how the struggles of life are what makes us human. It’s what makes us who we are. Without the struggles, we’d all be plastic replicas with no actual talents. We would never grow.
By struggling we become real, we grow, and we evolve in our emotions and intellect.
Social media doesn’t show these growth moments, and therefore it can all feel like a complete waste of time. By focusing on the unreality of perfection we’ve created an entire technological framework built on lies. Will you help turn the tide?
My challenge is to start with one post that suggests you are not perfect.
Show the “insider” photos, the ones that didn’t turn out great. Post about your broken car or a flat tire. Tell us you had a big argument with your spouse. Be real.
Tag me on Twitter using @jmbrandonbb and I’ll retweet it, collect some of the best posts, and write about your experience. Let’s do this!
Media availability following Council meeting – ottawa.ca
Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health, Steve Kanellakos, City Manager, Anthony Di Monte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services, and Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, will respond to media questions after today’s Council Meeting.
When: Wednesday, September 22
Time: 15 minutes after Council adjourns
Canada denies Chinese state media report that sailor was stopped in Northwest Passage – Nunatsiaq News
Zhai Mo is attempting to circumnavigate Arctic Ocean
Chinese state media is reporting the Canadian government stopped a Chinese sailor attempting to circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean last week, but Transport Canada says no such thing happened.
“Captain Zhai Mo has not entered Canadian Arctic waters,” Transport Canada stated in an email to Nunatsiaq News on Sept. 17.
Chinese media claim Mo was stopped at Lancaster Sound, in the Northwest Passage.
Mo, along with two crew members, is sailing a 25-metre boat that is fully solar powered and sponsored by Chinese telecom corporation China Mobile.
He is well known in China for his quest to sail non-stop around the Arctic Ocean and his travels are being closely covered by Chinese state media. Mo claims his journey, which he is video-blogging, will be the first of its kind.
Transport Canada told Nunatsiaq News it emailed Mo to relay that foreign boats going through the country’s waters for recreation or pleasure are temporarily prohibited due to COVID-19.
Transport Canada added it had seen reports that Mo now plans to avoid Canadian waters and the department “is monitoring the situation.”
According to Chinese state media, Mo is scheduled to return to China by the end of the year.
Gabby Petito’s Disappearance And Clues Debated On Social Media – Forbes
On Monday, a body thought to be that of missing Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was discovered, while authorities are still searching for her fiancé Brian Laundrie. The 22-year-old was reported missing on Sept. 11 after she failed to return from a months-long cross-country trip with Laundrie, who as of Tuesday afternoon – when he was named a person of interest – remains missing.
The case has remained in the spotlight on cable news over the past week while there have been nightly segments on the national evening news. “Gabby Petito” has also been trending on social media this week, but some users have even questioned why her disappearance has garnered so much media scrutiny while other cases fail to gain any attention.
Missing White Woman Syndrome
While Petito’s disappearance and possible death should not be taken lightly, many on the social platforms have noted that the media attention is an example of what has been labeled “Missing White Woman Syndrome.” The term is used by social scientists and media commentators to refer to the alleged disproportionate media coverage, especially on TV, of a missing person case that involves a young, white, upper-middle-class woman compared to the relative lack attention towards missing women who are not white and women of lower social classes, as well as missing men or boys.
Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) of the Huffington Post tweeted, “In the same area that Gabby Petito disappeared, 710 indigenous people— mostly girls—disappeared between the years of 2011 and 2020 but their stories didn’t lead news cycles.” via @MollyJongFast”
Some on social media have also used Gabby Petito’s disappearance to highlight other missing person’s cases. The grass roots organization Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) posted, “BREAKING NEWS: While the media obsesses over the Gabby Petito story, Jelani Day, a Black aspiring doctor and Illinois medical school student is also missing, but his disappearance is barely being covered. His abandoned car was found in the woods. Please RT to make this go viral.”
“I’m very sad and angry. Gabby could have been saved. Some are highlighting the media responses. It doesn’t diminish Gabby’s case. It’s an attempt to make sure we search for them all. Still, so many women missing. Use the same outrage to find them all,” added social media user @tbkeith.
Even with those calls to find every missing woman, this case certainly highlights yet another divide in our nation, and it further puts social media in the spotlight for its ability to get people arguing about nearly everything.
“Social media continues to have that potential to be polarizing,” said Saif Shahin, assistant professor in the school of communication at the American University.
“We see this all the time in the political space between liberals and conservatives, but it is evident on social media in different contexts such as this one,” Shahin added.
It also seems that this case has taken social media by storm unlike others, and that could potentially help break the case.
“When you combine that with America’s fascination with true crime – Serial Podcast, Don’t F**k With Cats and the latest Kristin Smart case – this is a perfect storm for the story to go viral,” said Matt Zuvella, VP of marketing at talent management services company FamePick.
“In the case of Gabby, her social media profiles might actually help solve the case, mainly because her fans became accustomed to her style of posting,” noted Zuvella. “So when there is something off or different, her fans immediately took notice and started asking questions.”
Spread Of Misinformation During Investigations
At issue too is where there is a potential for the spread of misinformation that could impact cases such as this one. How much harm it can do is a matter of debate, but past cases have shown that wild theories can stir up individuals and even put some people in harm’s way.
“Over the last few years, we have seen the dark side of social media with the spread of Covid-19 misinformation and political/election agendas,” added Zuvella. “However, in Gabby’s case we can see social media’s positive impact since her fans and fellow influencers jumped to her ‘aide’ and tried to help in any way they could.”
However, in past cases, social media has caused more harm than good, and amateur sleuths ‘debating’ potential suspects during an ongoing investigation could present serious problems.
“This happened after the Boston bombing,” explained Shahin. “There was the sharing of information on Reddit and Twitter, and other platforms. Users on social media were actively trying to figure out who were the Boston bombers.”
And they did so without the knowledge the police and FBI had access to, and as Shahin added, that was a problem as there was a zealous audience seeking information and sharing details without context. Many didn’t have investigative training either.
“They were pointing fingers everywhere,” said Shahin. “That certainly targeted people of color, and some on social media pointed fingers at a young man from India who had gone missing.”
Sunil Tripathi was wrongly accused of being a Boston Bombing suspect on Reddit, as he had been missing for a month prior to the April 15, 2013 bombing. His family had even turned to social media to assist in their search for Tripathi. That included setting up a Facebook page and sharing a video on YouTube.
Instead of helping find Tripathi, the information posted online resulted in his being misidentified as a suspect by users on social media. Thousands of individuals actually jumped on the bandwagon, and his name and details were even shared on Reddit. A BuzzFeed reporter then named the young man, who was born to Indian immigrants, as being a primary suspect.
“That led to threats against his family, while some mainstream media outlets even picked up on the story,” said Shahin. “The family was already in a lot of pain and it exacerbated it.”
In the end, Tripathi had nothing to do with the bombing, and he had killed himself by drowning.
“There is such a potential for the spread of bad information, and that could even distract the police during an investigation,” warned Shahin. “This isn’t new, but the presence of social media brings in such new dynamics.”
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