Once again I’m inspired by something on social media. Today, my trigger is this post on Instagram. It goes along with all the other Buddha quotes about how the opinions of others shouldn’t matter. But I’m less focussed on the post than I am the emoji.
There’s no doubt this post is true. Most posts like this are true. But has anyone thought of what these statements embody? Because I want to know what percentage of the 800+ people who cast their emoji upon this post actually gave the sentiment time to marinate in their brain before “liking it.” Seriously, think about it. What does it truly mean to not have to live up to someone else’s idea of who you are supposed to be? So much of your external reality just falls away when you ponder such an idea. And I guarantee, the implications of this thought mean a lot more than a double tap.
I actually did a search to understand science’s research on the emoji casting community. Maybe I didn’t use the right language. Because this screenshot is the result.
I did find this interesting piece all the way at the bottom of the Google Search Results. But it didn’t yield the statistic I was looking for.
According to Google’s AI, people clearly don’t have the same questions about life that I do. They’re more concerned with “expert,” and non-expert opinions on how and when to fall in love. While here I am, wading through the murky darkness of my subconscious encouraging people to go deeper. Encouraging them to understand the experiences and influences which brought them to this moment. The similarities between my thoughts and Google’s are about as logical as a football bat.
But apparently, somewhere along the way, the emoji and its influences on self esteem and opinions became more important than knowing ourselves. And knowing how we came to be who we are. We spend entirely too much time Googling for answers. And while I’m ranting, it appears that we also really like “watching” other people have experiences. We should consider looking up from our phones and going on an adventure. That’s where we’re more likely to find the answers we truly seek. You know, the answers which reside within ourselves. After all, isn’t that what inspirational posts say to do??
So many of us seem to be on a quest for inspiration. I’ve been blogging (and if I’m being completely honest, complaining) for awhile about inspirational quotes that yield no action, save a “like.” Isn’t inspiration more valuable than an emoji?
If I am being objective, humans really do seem to like the idea of inspiration. Which is, in a way, what emojis represent. They tell others, and ourselves, that we like an idea. But not that you have any intention of actually following up on it. That part takes drive. And no post or subsequent emoji can create that. That comes from within. That comes from a place beyond the surface. It is also deeper than those who seek out an adventure just to share it on social media, for the attention and approval it garners.
The Time Before Emojis
Oh how I long for the time when taking photos actually meant something. Experiences were more personal. Memories were imprinted deeply in our minds because we couldn’t easily look back at yesterday’s pointless photos of our food. And an experience required a vocabulary to describe it. Because there was a time when we painted pictures of our experiences with our words to people who actually cared to ask, “how was your dinner?”
Experiences were committed to memories and the very word “emoji” sounded dumb. But maybe there’s hope. Perhaps our inner drive is represented by our willingness to take the next step and actually leave a comment.
Ok. My rant is over…at least for the moment.
Save Your Emoji for Someone Special
Now I find myself reserving my emojis for something really special to me. It just hit me that I am actually more selective about bestowing my emoji upon a post than I was when I decided to lose my virginity.
This post is a great example. I know it’s a simple thought, but I like the implication of what the moon would become if it shined during the day. An omen – be it good or bad. It would be profound. Thus, this post earned my emoji.
My Usual “Don’t Get Me Wrong” Part
I absolutely love the heartwarming videos of baby deer being rescued by happenstance by a Good Samaritan who just happened to be passing by. But I’ve stopped sharing those posts and I’ve stopped emoji-ing them too. Why? Well, first of all, they already have plenty of people willing to invest not only their emojis, but also a tiny space on their pages to this all for the sake of sharing the experience. And by the time I get around to it, most have already seen it.
The Walls of My Cyber-Abode
So I’ve decided that my “walls” will be decorated with an eclectic blend of the woman I’ve become. And I ask that if you find your way to the “walls” of my cyber-abode, you reserve your emojis for thoughts and shares which resonate deeper than the approximate one second it takes for your brain to process the words. (I’m still looking for the emoji reaction time. And I’m ok with Googling that question because I’m 100% certain that my brain doesn’t contain even one degree of non-biased, scientific accuracy.)
Don’t Premature Emoji
My ongoing evolution invites you to challenge yourself. Don’t emoji my posts (or anyone else’s) right away. Take a screenshot. Walk away. Sleep on it. Take however long it takes to decide if it’s worth your emoji. And you may just find that you while you did like it, it turns out that it wasn’t worth the time to return and give it a 👍 . I respect that. I encourage that. And while my self esteem once got a good jolt from the plethora of visual appreciation for my posts, it doesn’t need it. My self esteem actually doesn’t need anything more than a healthy relationship with myself.
The Value of an Emoji
Honestly, that’s what my ♥️ or 👍 have become. These two emojis are precious, and often times invaluable commodities. Yet we throw them around freely and with little regard.
I’m not sure when exactly, but my social media experience evolved without me realizing. Now, a post must resonate with me on a deeper level. It must speak to me beyond the surface. Beyond the first emotion I have. It can’t just be seemingly profound words uniquely wordsmithed so they resonate with everyone. They must (at least seem to) come from the heart, or the depths of the mind, for me to spend my reactive commodity on it. Because hearts and thumbs have literally become emotional investments. As have 😂 😢 😡 .
In some ways emojis seem to trivialize an interaction with another being. But they have become part of their recipient’s identities and self worth. Which literally goes against the advice of every inspirational post.
The Devaluation of Love
We’ve become entranced by social media’s endless scrolling of diversion and entertainment. So much so we literally express “love” for things which overstate the obvious. Shouldn’t love be reserved for something deeper? Something more reflective? Because if we’re being totally honest, we really “like” the feeling a post gives us. But would we sacrifice everything for that post, the way we would for true love? I don’t think I even need to answer that.
So perhaps it’s time that we contemplate the investment we’ve made in social media. Because we actually give more time and consideration to it than we do our physical/in-person relationships. It’s time we realize that we’re in a relationship with an inanimate thing called “social media.” It feeds our ideas of love, dreams, desires, and sometimes it even feeds our frustrations and causes faceless disagreements and fights. But don’t worry. There’s an emoji for that, too.
Yellow Faces and Miraculous Emotions
As I write this I simply can’t believe that we’ve become a species which expresses emotions with yellow faces. Emojis which fall woefully short of conveying the miraculous experience of actually having that emotion. All for what? For the sake of making sure other people know how you feel?
The more you think about this, the more you see just how fucked up it is. And to add insult to injury, your emojis tell a machine what you like, love, and dislike. What makes you sad, and what makes you laugh. All so that machine can keep you entranced and programmable. Because social media has become a ritual. A mesmerizing ritual so a machine can learn more about you through ridiculous emojis than your partner or spouse, children, or even your coworkers. And then it will serve you up more, more, more. I’m not even Catholic (anymore) and see even more clearly now why Gluttony is a “Deadly Sin.”
Make no mistake, your emojis are a commodity. Businesses pay a lot of money for emojis. They also pay a lot of money to “know” you through your emojis. But you pay for those emojis, too. You define yourself through them. So be considerate. Be pensive. Be human.
New Literotica is On the Way
In completely different news, I am close to completing my first literotica novella. So keep an eye on our Literotica Brothel.