I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been contemplating taking a break from social media for a long while. While my frustrations surrounding the algorithms were the basis of my problem with Instagram, a deeper understanding of the severity of the fake news problem that stems from Facebook (who just so happens to own Instagram) and the blurring line between good and repetitive content ultimately lead to my breaking point. When a picture of an avocado can get 100,000 likes on a social media platform but we fail to recognize some of the crucial news topics and events happening around the world, I realized I could no longer be apart of a community that does not value 'real' life. As someone who reads the news religiously and feel a responsibility to share and educate my friends, family and acquaintances on what's happening in news media, I feel helpless online when millions of millennials have been sucked into a system that is drawing their attention away from what is important, to content that has tremendous influence on the way people think, behave and view themselves and others in the world.
The final breaking point for me was the night I went to see Ai WeiWei's documentary, HUMAN FLOW. If you didn't have the chance to see it in select theaters around the world, it is expected to air on Netflix soon. Filmed across 33 countries that have been impacted by war, poverty and the displacement of human beings that are the face of the refugee crisis, the documentary shares some alarming footage and facts through the eyes of the people who are impacted by these tragedies. I couldn't sit back and post pictures of my 'picture perfect life' (trust me, no one's life is really that great) while millions of people are struggling for the most basic aspects in order to survive a tolerable and meaningful life.
"If children grow up without any hope, without any prospects for the future, without any sense of them being able to make something out of their lives, then they will become very vulnerable to all sorts of exploitations, including radicalization."