Why Having A Purpose Is More Valuable Than Chasing An Online Presence
Updated: Feb 28, 2020
We live in a time when it’s not so much about what you say, but in what way, how often and how loud you say it. Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter are almost begging us to expose our most banal, pointless and personal moments just so we can make the claim that we are indeed ‘here’. That our presence is being noticed.
‘Social media presence’ has become a buzzword that has spread everywhere from 5th grade gym locker rooms to the United Nations. I’m not kidding. I used to work at UN Human Rights. We are compelled and expected to make our presence known – but what is the point of being present at the party if we have nothing valuable to share with the other guests?
We are living in the era of attention and information overload, and as much as we are embracing ignorance and abusing a lack of substance – the world is begging for content. This could explain the rise of controversial polemicists such as Jordan Peterson. Or the latest The 1975 record. I have to admit I’m personally more a fan of the latter – but both exemplify and suggest a rising trend: we are not satisfied when we are simply bombed with colourful imagery and mostly loud yet hollow voices.
We want content. We want our lives to matter beyond simple gratification such as watching videos of kittens. Don’t get me wrong. They’re cute. But as much as the internet has granted us access to almost every corner of the world – as much are we now at a point where sloppy journalism, dogs rolling in the grass, fake news and fake presidents are creating a genuine need for a deeper meaning and purpose.
Social media has created not only a big bang of information and a new passive kind of political activism best encapsulated in the introduction of the new digital language of 'emoticons'; it has also eroded trust, compassion, integrity, truth, deep reflection, introspection and yes, true purpose.
The question is, whether we are genuinely satisfied and happy by merely being a glimpse of a moment on a feed, in this new 21st century online viralisation? Truth is: presence is pretentious, purpose is powerful.
For with depth, meaning and purpose the human soul can grow endlessly into the universe, expanding and shining like stars in the night sky, full of curiosity and learning. It can inspire true growth and change deep-rooted beliefs. And social media is robbing us of that ability to dig deep within ourselves. We become mirrors of the world around us, rather than holding a mirror to the world. We are not rooted in ourselves but riding a tidal wave of hype.
Moreover, the 24/hour status update news cycle has left us in a place where we are never truly left to ourselves. And ironically it has left us more lonely than ever. And as we struggle to be alone, we use social media to get our dopamin shots of momentary solitude fixes - completing the cycle and ultimately becoming another string of data in the never-ending online matrix.
We need to break with the concept of chasing an online presence so we can find our true purpose and calling. It might be one of the hardest things we set out to do at this point, but it’s the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to the world around us. The world needs the you that has a true purpose. It doesn’t need your mere presence.