Similar to the Mirror of Erised – what’s looking in on one side isn’t necessarily the same as what’s coming out of the other side. A couple of months ago I wrote a story for #HalfTheStory (Half the Story) about my thoughts on our use of social media. Half the Story is a platform dedicated to showing the other side of life, the one we don’t see online. They share real-life stories about mental health, depression, social media, business, body image, and many more. After discovering #HalfTheStory and reading the stories, I couldn’t help notice the similarities between social media and The Mirror of Erised (Harry Potter).
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ⠀
(Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone). ⠀
I remember this scene well. It’s the “Mirror of Erised” scene – for those who haven’t noticed, Erised is the word “Desire” spelled backwards. How is this linked to social media and our lives today? Desperately searching for perfection through a mirror or a screen guarantees nothing more than disappointment & wasted time! We pour hours of our time into perfecting and online presence in the bid to gain popularity, but are we forgetting to actually live? Are our followers gaining more enjoyment from our “Insta-worthy” food than we ourselves?! Why are we obsessed with watching people online living their lives offline?! ⠀
Social media can be like a world of fiction that should be entered with extreme caution. In the online world we hear a lot about “stories”: “brand stories”, “Insta-stories” and obsessively edited versions of what publishers want you to see. I love to see perfectly edited feeds as much as I love to see notebooks full of rough, raw notes. We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to the lives, success and perfect pictures that we see on social media, we should merely appreciate the hard work put in by these influencers. ⠀
For the majority of my working life, I have strived to build an online presence to build my career. Before setting up an online business I rarely used the internet at all. Now that I spend a lot of time online for work purposes, I feel even more aware of spending too much time online and not appreciating a rare but precious thing known as “life offline” – aka reality. Thanks to my online businesses, I get to be my own boss every day. I do what I want in the way I want and on my own schedule! I’ve managed to achieve in 10 years what many people never get to experience in their life time. But the only way to build a globally successful online business is to live your life offline. If you’re going to be successful online, if you want to produce an interesting piece of content then you need to have done something interesting to share. Businesses blossom online. However, the act of living should be enjoyed offline.”
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