Forum: Harder to find meaning as social media takes over lives

As much as I try to convince myself that I am not dependent on my phone, I still find myself navigating to social media apps whenever I need a break from work. Connection has become commercialised – by curating one’s profile and posting updates for friends and strangers to see, we mould our public persona and redefine our social networks.

Social media apps generate infinite content, cultivating short attention spans and a constant need for new stimulations.

As we broaden our social circles and normalise the sharing of the time spent with our loved ones, I can’t help but question if our modern media ecosystems have diluted the meaning in our relationships, reducing the quality of the time spent together.

Social media app BeReal, which recently gained popularity, encourages the presentation of a more “authentic self” – users are prompted to post once every day, but with a catch. Everyone is notified at a random time each day to post photos of himself, within two minutes. BeReal has been touted by some as a more realistic, down-to-earth form of social media.

On the contrary, doesn’t this force us to scrutinise every small moment in our everyday life? How would one feel if there is nothing meaningful or exciting to share when the BeReal notification pops up?

We even download productivity apps to stop us from using other apps deemed unproductive or addictive. Ironically, some of these apps also encourage virtual connectivity with your friends and let you keep track of how they are doing.

What continues to make everyday moments and relationships meaningful in this modern world? Even with this media ecosystem we have carefully constructed for ourselves, I hope people today continue to search for meaning and happiness in the small moments.

Xu Siqi

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