In the past month or so I have traveled to Berlin, Prague, Paris, and now Lyon: on social media alone. The truth is that I have done so with the same two cats on my lap, from the comfort of my parents’ home in Cochrane Alberta. I apologize for those of you who feel betrayed or deceived; that certainly was not my intention. Rather, this strange behavior was performed in the spirit of a social (media) experiment; as such, it is my duty to now provide full disclosure.
My relationship with social media is complex: I both love and despise it. I guess it has been about ten years now, since I joined Facebook. At first, I was shocked by how intrusive it was with regards to privacy; I think we all were. But we have become numb to it, I think. We regularly give away pieces of ourselves for “Likes”, and “Shares”.
The whole thing is massively ego driven, which is why I can’t say I am surprised that it has reached epidemic levels in the west. We have become our own paparazzi, and while we all know that we are not the same people we ‘promote’ on social media, it is easy to compare the rendering s of other people’s lives to our own with disastrous results: it often makes us feel small, and angry.
So, I decided to enter in fully: to become that which I despise. I flaunted my ‘travels’, checking into airports, hotels, air b and b’s, towns, and cities. In the process, I disillusioned many, including myself. So I gave myself an out: I published a confession on my blog, and posted it to Facebook. I invited people to join my email list to get updates as to ‘where I really was’. But then I continued to bear this burden of enigma, reversing the post, and claiming that it was a prank performed by some hostel friends.
It has reached the point where I am annoying myself; and so it must end. When I do travel to Europe, I won’t let anybody know about it on social media. I will take pictures, of course, but I will convert these photos to slides to show friends when I return. I will not flaunt my travels, because travelling is a privilege: not many people get to do it.
My plan, for those who care, is to remain in Cochrane until I have saved enough money to get to Hanoi and live for a month as I look for work as an ESL Teacher. I also plan to get off Facebook once and for all, and put my energy into the new novel I have started writing rather than ‘showing off’ on social media. Facebook is merely a means to an end: let us all remember that, and meditate upon it.
Again, I am sorry for forcing you all to participate in this sick experiment. I shall be more sincere and honest in my use of the beast from this day forward.
Nick (AKA Ding Dong)