If It Wasn’t on Social Media, Did it Actually Happen? Welcome to Post-Reality!

On a lecture/seminar, our professor, Prof. Melani Budianta talked about our digital world with social media, and the disturbing spread of bogus news or information, or what we call now as hoaxes. Her answer, was the democratization of media over the years, particularly in Indonesia. Then, she reminded us that the only way to keep our sanity intact is actually by protecting our humanity. With that idea in my mind, she concluded the talk by encouraging us to keep the love of literature alive because it helps us to think critically. It was a brilliant talk, and it made me proud of the academic field I’ve chosen all these years.

But for this post, I’d like to express one particular concern over this phrase that Indonesian netizens have been relentlessly using among many others:

“No Pics, Hoax!”


Everyone has a smartphone these days, and every day, every nook and cranny of our lives are displayed for everyone to see through Instagram to give us an example. Ideas of success and happiness are constructed and deconstructed with each yearly trend and I would be lying if I didn’t, and am still battling over it.

There’s that constant comparison of lifestyles, followers, thigh gaps, and hangout spots that I don’t think we know what it actually means to have a good time and do pretty much anything genuinely! It’s always to impress, not to express. And if that doesn’t get any more worrying, I absolutely cringe at how we would question the validity of whatever it is we’re doing – sans an aesthetic post on Instagram or a minute-by-minute Insta-story.

Take this.

You didn’t go on that first date because there wasn’t a photo to officiate it, you didn’t go to that Sheila on 7 concert that weekend because there wasn’t a song-by-song documentation of your time there. How about that art exhibition you ask? Nope, people wouldn’t exactly believe you because you didn’t Insta-story a full entrance-to-exit-door experience.

“Really? I didn’t see it on your Instagram!”

It scares me to an extent because if there’s one thing I never want to lose in this world, is in the ability for me to enjoy a moment as I see it, and how it makes me feel without the need of having to validate it to everybody else. There was one moment where I felt guilty of actually having a good time without posting it on social media, to which I told myself “Gosh, this has to stop right now,” See how we’re letting it capture and define our worth?

Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are a million other ways social media is preventing us from being decent human beings. For example, there’s not really an excitement or joyful anticipation of meeting our friends because heck, everything we do is pretty much up on social media that we don’t feel the need to catch up anymore. I was watching the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie a while back (I know, I have these particular moments to do a throwback, haha) where Lena lovingly showed pictures of her visit to Greece to her friends, and I thought to myself, moments like that are pretty rare these days because a quick glimpse of people’s Instagram is already a quick affirmation.

Now, I don’t want to end this post without sounding like a hypocrite. I have succumbed to these issues, especially when it comes to everyday relation with friends, but I’m also telling you that I want to be better at managing social media while living a wholesome life.

Then again, it’s easier said than done.

Any thoughts on this?