Social media mavericks, sheep & filter bubbles.

For a while now I have felt like a barrier between me and success at what I believe is my current mission has been my detest of what seems to be every Pratt trying to flog themselves off as hot stuff on social media and within their circles. Do you feel the same way?

I say barrier because my experience has taught me that anything other than a feeling of congruent joy and gratitude in my heart and soul for the endeavours of others blocks me off spiritually, and the less spiritual and connected I’m feeling the less likely I am to move forward serenely in my own life (therefore a feeling of detest is a no-no! And I’m guessing referring to someone or somebody else as a pratt wouldn’t place me at the top of any spiritual good list either). Are my feelings around this valid though?

In an effort, therefore, to get my ego in check and reset my spiritual insides to some modicum of inner peace, congruency and serenity, I have decided to take a good look and what I mean by this and be careful which words I use. This should be a good start I feel at acknowledging myself to myself and with any luck, victory over a few of my shortcomings.

Let’s start with the words then:

Maybe “bubble” is a better word than “circle”? And maybe “maverick” is a better word than Pratt? Or is it?

A bubble is effectively as far we all know round and therefore a type of circle, so that could work. And if it is possible to have such a thing as a maverick sheep (Given that sheep generally tend to flock together), then maybe we could be on to something.

Let’s take a look at these 2 words for a sec according to the good old English Oxford word defining book, it is, after all, an authority on all things definitions and more.

First the word bubble, a relatively cute, shiny looking sphere of sorts that for most of us is the thing of fun playful memories as a result of sticking some sort of stencil shape holding stick into soapy water and blowing through it to create a moment of magical joy, yay! for a while, until it pops! Then sadness momentarily, then off again for another round of mesmerizing fun. Or as the dictionary describes it “a thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas” (hmm not much fun there) on the other hand, maverick according to this book is “an unorthodox or independent-minded person”, certainly to me, that sounds appealing!

OK so…here we are, on social media promoting ourselves and our businesses, operating in let’s say the personal development and life coaching field, which as far I can tell is all about doing things your own way, at least that’s what I think, Right? What seems to be happening is that everyone on social media is going about it the same way, (not very maverick then by definition) pumping themselves up as experts and masters on this and that, posting only the best pictures and videos of constructed, manufactured and well thought out poses and occasions making them all look like they know exactly what they are doing (which they very well might, hmm or not!).

The risk the way I see it here is that too many people fall prey to what is known as “comparisonitis”. The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance. Or at the least in this instance, one’s perceived accomplishments. We then feel the need to buy into what everyone else seems to be offering or doing so well, or that we need to learn more to be better, not to be better but because we are not good enough in comparison.

This goes on until such time that you’ve either spent yourself out or become what I have heard referred to as a “course junkie” buying into to everyone else’s well constructed, well-manufactured sales pitch and advertising that may or may not have done what it promised, probably wasn’t worth what was paid for it but has somehow profited from your desire to want to succeed and progress, your feeling of being “stuck”, and not knowing what to do next because it’s all so overwhelming, and invariably always contains a clause stating that even though they have guaranteed you that this is what you need and it will change your life, if it doesn’t work though, the reason is probably your fault and was as a result of some similar process to something like the 6 p’s (perfect planning prevents @#ss poor performance etc.) which is the insinuation, or lack of effort somewhere along the line on your part. It may just be me but there doesn’t seem to be much accountability there.

Filter bubbles! That is what these are filter bubbles!

As described by Wikipedia, filter bubbles result from personalized searches when a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (location, past click-behavior and search history) and as a result the user becomes separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles.

We have our own people induced versions of this Filter Bubble.

According to Bill Gates on Technology and social media:

“Technologies such as social media let you go off with like-minded people, so you’re not mixing and sharing and understanding other points of view …..it’s super important. It’s turned out to be more of a problem than I, or many others, would have expected.”

“-Bill Gates 2017 in quartz (qz.com)”

Individuals in these “bubbles”, chasing these ideas to do things differently, behaving like mavericks, all belong to Facebook groups (great another Facebook group, right up there on everyone’s list of constructive things with Whatsapp groups) that are meant to be and in some ways I guess are a support group of like-minded (maybe too like-minded) people. However what seems to end up happening here is that they too constantly post either imagined or real events, occurrences or thoughts, only them knowing how authentic all this really is or can be, some good, and let’s be honest some really not that good attempts at being mavericks and “getting out of their comfort zones”, or inundating people with requests to like business pages (how many businesses that are working and substantial can you really have at this level), creating and recreating projected images of what’s really happening and the progress that they may actually or may not be making.

How often does this happen in our daily lives too? The people we surround ourselves with, the advice we are willing to take or selectively not take on board and the points of view we either consciously or unconsciously are willing to consider.

And how true is this? The problem aspect that is.

Don’t listen and read to compare, don’t compare with what it looks like others may have that you think you don’t, or what you think you may have that it looks like they don’t. Listen, watch and read to identify. A suggestion is to look for the similarities, not the differences.

False perceptions of ourselves and other people. What kind of havoc does this cause us mentally and emotionally?

There is space for all of us, we all have great ideas and we are all worth everything we can achieve and I really believe that there is no such thing as failure only feedback. Figure out what you would do differently, that means to adjust, improve, learn from your experiences.

My wish for all of you out there on social media is that you all keep going, keep striving forward and getting yourselves out there and that you manage to do it congruently with whatever your core values are, and not feel like you have to keep up with the facade. Break out of whatever filter bubble you may or may not be in, take a different point of view, gear up for constructive feedback even though you may not like it and do things differently.

Perhaps my shot at succeeding and believing in myself has been bolstered, maybe I too like so many on social media have figured a method for overcoming my difficulties. Honesty, open-mindedness & willingness, these 3 things seem like they could be a key of sorts, a key to my own personal freedom.

Tony Robbins has a pretty good quote that I like “The ultimate freedom, the unshakeability, is to take control of your own mind”.

Maybe being a maverick and standing out from the crowd is about going back to basics and about being able to have the courage to share what’s going on inside. Recognize what’s going on inside ourselves and be vulnerable to another person or group of people despite fear of judgement. The most uncomfortable thing I can think of is talking about what I’m really feeling for fear of being ridiculed, perhaps stepping out of our comfort zones isn’t necessarily stepping onto the internet and social media, or even in front of a crowd to begin with. In fact, it might not even mean stepping outside of our homes. Stepping out of our comfort zones and stretching ourselves significantly is within us, not out there. We all seem to spend our time looking and searching for what we think we really want, never seeming to be able to find it.

Have you found what you want yet? If not, the reason you may not be able to have found what you want yet out there is that you already have it! It’s in us, all of us. An idea might be to start with a conversation, a real one and maybe that happens to be on social media who knows. Doing something different is a risk, but making the same mistakes is a guarantee of failure, what is it like when we are making mistakes that are obvious to see because we’ve skipped the basics, but not obvious to us because were blinded by a social media haze. Perhaps an idea might be to begin where you are if you’re feeling the pull to make a change, a pull to live and offer what you know is so much more than what you are managing to offer at the moment.

Start with your community and friends and reach them effectively. Thinking of someone else means I’m not thinking of myself, and when I’m not thinking of myself, I’m better off than I was.

Let’s rediscover where we live! Back to basics and then on to social media and the world.