Seeking relevance

A couple of years ago, fresh from the laidback world of college, I decided to start a blog. At first, I didn’t know what to write about. My first few posts ranged from mundane rants, to some highfalutin sentiments (or so I thought). In fact, my WordPress ID was snooty at best (read: thoughtologist).

Eventually, I found my niche, and decided to concentrate on fashion blogging. What I did was to critique the new collections of brands and fashion houses, and to curate the really good ones, at least according to my tastes. In order to satisfy the visual appetite of my readers—and also to entice new ones—I created a Lookbook account. It helped that I was really into fashion and I liked to dress up.

However, after being active in the blogging sphere for almost a year, I stopped posting updates since law school was then becoming more and more demanding. This was regrettable, since things were already beginning to take off (again, so I thought). I started to receive invites to some events and product launches, in exchange for spreading the news to my own network. You know, the typical type of exchange deals.

Fast-forward to the present, I just laugh whenever I remember that phase in my life. Truth be told, I tried to pass off myself as some sort of a fashion blogger, not really because of my interest in fashion, nor even my passion in writing—but rather, I was trying to be relevant.

In this day and age where someone’s influence is measured by the number of likes an Instagram post has generated, or by the number of one’s Twitter followers, trying to fit in has become a lot harder. Social media has been regarded as a ticket to success, and in most instances, a key to fame and fortune.

Let’s admit it: you can’t be considered cool enough unless you have an active online presence. The more invested you are in social media, the cooler you are perceived to be. The name of the game is popularity; the rules of the game are limitless. It is a matter of being in the scene, to be seen.

Social networking has pervaded our lives so much, to the point that the distinctions between our personal and virtual spaces have become immensely blurred. Chances are, the prevailing subjects of conversations are shaped by what has been trending lately online. In fact, they might have been so grossly intertwined, to the point that you cannot distinguish anymore which one is which.

The dichotomy does not end there. This in turn creates another confusion, as to between what is real and what is imagined. Social media take us to another dimension—a world that may in fact not be grounded with reality. Since we have control over our own accounts, we have the capacity to choose what to post online, and therefore, the capacity to dictate what we want others to see and think about us.

Naturally, what we choose to post are enhanced versions of ourselves. Think of this as a digital marketing plan: we brainstorm some preconceived ideas of what personalities we want to project—artsy dude, privileged kid, know-it-all intellectual, carefree partygoer, wannabe hipster, or whatever—and through what we like, tweet, or share, the grand plan is executed. Our online personas are transformed into virtual résumés. Through social media platforms, we are able to sell ourselves.

Not that this approach is entirely flawed. After all, whether we accept it or not, we resort to this in order to seek relevance. We try our best to please others, so that we may find ourselves worthy of being accepted into the evolving notion of a person relevant to society.

Ultimately, social media is power. Once unimaginable things can now turn into great possibilities. This is where we must hold ourselves responsible to utilize its potential for the benefit of the greater majority, and not just our self-serving whims. But I have to admit, this is easier said than done.

Hence, the real challenge is to try to live out what we project online the best way we can, without any pretensions. Admittedly, it should be the other way around—that the virtual must merely mirror what happens in real-life. However, the prevailing set-up dictates that it is more feasible to do the opposite.

And this is what I’m proposing—that whatever we decide to imbibe virtually, we should strive hard to transform it into reality. By doing so, not only do we restore the balance between what is real and what is imagined, but we also get to reach the perfect version of what we have always wanted to become. P

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