How to avoid the mistake of harmful sharing

I used to share every single interesting thing I come across on social media. Any content that made me laugh, caused tears to stream down my face, or even those which left me fuming with anger, were all shared,  just because I could

At first, I didn’t think much about it. It’s just sharing content, right? However, over time noticed a similar pattern in my actions and emotions when it comes to sharing content on social media:

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First, I noticed that whenever I find content that I found interesting, the first thought that comes to my head upon consumption of said content is: “I should share this.”

Then, without any hesitation, I’d click on the “share” button, spend a minute (or maybe fifteen?) adding my thoughts and feelings as comments, and then give my confirmation: “Submit”.

My shared content and comments now online, I’d then spend the next few minutes “casually” reloading my page again and again, feeling my heart skip a beat whenever the number of likes and shares increase.

When that number eventually plateaus, I then find myself subconsciously looking for the next piece of content to share or comment on. In my mind, I could see nothing wrong in what I was doing; in fact, I was doing a service! I was educating people with my “insights” or delivering entertainment, depending on the nature of the content.

And so I consume and share, consume and share, without giving much thought.

Unfortunately, without realising it, I had gotten myself addicted to the “rewards” of sharing content — the affirmation of my opinions, the satisfaction of receiving attention, and the security in making connections.

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Becoming Gordon Ramsay

Sometime last semester, my friends and I came across a video of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and we voted to watch it while eating our lunch. We loved the episode so much — it made for cheap entertainment — that we decided to go through all the other episodes (and seasons) during all our lunches and dinners in the days to come.

So every single day, twice a day while we dig in our food, we watched as Gordon Ramsay threw restaurants upside down. He would come in, scrutinize the dishes served, and make blistering comments peppered generously with vulgarities. Our dates with him went on undisturbed for weeks until one evening we decided to eat out at a restaurant off-campus.

The Night of Transformation

The restaurant was empty when we entered it, save for a small family of three seated in the middle. We were quickly ushered to a corner booth, where the waiters took our orders without much fanfare and made for the kitchen.

“Where are all the other customers?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it says something about the food here?”

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Do I shape the Media, or does the Media shape me?

“Why is the quality of media content today declining?” I asked, genuinely and urgently wanting to know.

The man representing the broadcast industry in Malaysia scrunched his forehead, his lips pursed as thoughts ran through his head. Several seconds passed. The hall was static with suspense. I started wondering if I had crossed the line with my question. I am a writer, a content creator, and I know how it feels like to be on the receiving end of a critical judgment.

It stings. Every content creator, every artist, will tell you that.

The man shifted in his seat and cleared his throat, “I disagree with your statement that the quality is declining.”

I was piqued. A running image of the never-ending slapstick comedy broadcasting in my campus’s cafe ran through my mind; all the mindless horror comedy films, the Islam-coated romance films, all the gangster action movies full of drugs and clubs and women being manipulated – and he disagrees?

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