The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRATS -

AGROUP of friends de­cide to go out. They get to the restau­rant, sit down, and ev­ery­one im­me­di­ately gets on their phones. On Face­book, a check-in at the restau­rant: “Catch­ing up with my besties!” They had hardly spo­ken yet.

On In­sta­gram, a photo of the food: “Fi­nally tried it!!” She hadn’t even touched it.

On Twit­ter, a sta­tus up­date: “Lunch with @ friend1 and @friend2. Hav­ing such a great time!” Sound fa­mil­iar? To­day, we live in a world dom­i­nated by so­cial me­dia. Our need to live-re­port ev­ery inch of our lives runs so deep that our ev­ery tweet, Snapchat and Foursquare check-in is nu­anced by our sub­con­scious de­sire to im­prove our vir­tual personas.

How many of you have re­phrased Face­book sta­tuses sim­ply be­cause you thought it would ap­peal to the au­di­ence more? Sim­ply be­cause it had po­ten­tial to rake in more “Likes”?

In the safe con­fines of our rooms, we now have the lux­ury to ac­tively con­struct the iden­tity we put forth online, a golden chance to recre­ate our­selves. The dan­ger of this de­tach­ment lies in us be­com­ing so ob­sessed with per­fect­ing our so­cial front that we lose touch with re­al­ity.

A cou­ple years ago, I owned a blog. In its early days, it was noth­ing more than a di­ary, a raw and hon­est ac­count of my day-to-day shenani­gans. How­ever, as the num­ber of view­ers started to climb, I was over­come by a need to im­press. It got to a point where I would com­pose pre­lim­i­nary drafts and photo cap­tions in my head in­stead of ac­tu­ally en­gag­ing my­self dur­ing events.

I was so con­sumed by the thought of shar­ing my ex­pe­ri­ences that I, quite frankly, was left de­void of any real ex­pe­ri­ences my­self.

At that point, I had be­come a per­former in a show of my own life.

It was not un­til a friend pointed it out that I re­alised so­cial me­dia was not just shap­ing the way in­for­ma­tion was dis­sem­i­nated, it was chang­ing the way we por­trayed our­selves. It was nur­tur­ing a cul­ture of ex­hi­bi­tion­ism which fed on our in­trin­sic na­ture to up­hold our im­age.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the In­ter­net. Af­ter all, what would life be with­out some good old stalk­ing, right? But when we be­gin to live life through the lenses of our smart­phones, so­cial me­dia then be­comes a tool that de­tracts from life ex­pe­ri­ences.

I learnt the hard way that there’s a fine line to draw when it comes to shar­ing. Trust me, I love post­ing on In­sta­gram as much as the next per­son. My only hope is that de­spite be­ing so caught up in the ad­vent of all this tech­nol­ogy, we’d all take a step back to live life first, then share it. You’d be sur­prised at how big a dif­fer­ence it re­ally makes.

The writer is a mem­ber of The Star’s BRATs young jour­nal­ist pro­gramme, or­gan­ised by R.AGE. For more in­for­ma­tion, and to ap­ply to join the pro­gramme, log on to face­book.com/star­brats. Our BRATs young

jour­nal­ists are al­ways go­ing for cool as­sign­ments.

Fol­low their live up­dates on so­cial


Pro­gramme Malaysia The Eco-schools at the ‘eco-pledges’ par­tic­i­pants pre­par­ing workshop. The par­tic­i­pants also had the op­por­tu­nity to go on a boat ride to see the fire­flies in Kam­pung Kuan­tan, se­lan­gor. BRAT Lye Ming Han (right) try­ing his hand at pa­per m

brats@thes­tar.com.my BRAT muham­mad Khalid (right) get­ting a les­son on how to climb trees.

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