Many thanks to all of you who have subscribed so far. If you're being forwarded this message, you can click HERE to subscribe yourself!
This week, we are going to discuss how we shape our identity in the modern, digital age. In particular, we will explore modern media and the "mask" we end up wearing when confronted with these new platforms.
I am also testing out a new format this week, so let me know what you think!
Identity in the New Age of Media
The modern age of media brings with it a number of positive benefits, particularly for creators. Unfortunately, this evolution also has a dark side. Internal Facebook documents were recently leaked, showing the adverse effects that social media, and Instagram in particular, has on teenagers. This temporarily paused the intended Instagram for Kids rollout that the company had recently been working on.
In an equally wild story, Ozy Media recently shut down following allegations of fraud from a "$40 Million Conference Call Gone Wrong." This example highlights another aspect of how modern media and identity are precariously intertwined, causing otherwise normal people to do abnormal things. Take some time to briefly reflect on how the digital interconnectedness of the modern world causes you to change the way you perceive yourself and others.
These stories often get lost in the noise as we consistently engage with media and the technology that empowers these ecosystems. Gone are the days of physically driving to a video store to rent the latest release. Now, an infinite number of streaming platforms offer near limitless entertainment at our fingertips. This has been a boon for screenwriters, independent producers, and other creatives. Furthermore, social media has allowed any individual on the planet to reach an infinite audience: the internet has become the world's largest stage.
While some are able to successfully navigate this ecosystem and leverage it for positive outcomes, many more find their happiness and well-being negatively affected. The leaked Facebook documents showed that 1 in 3 teenage girls have worsening body-image issues due to regular Instagram use. We are all being bombarded by the selective highlight reels of random people on the internet. Now, more than ever, it is easy to succumb to the feeling that we aren't good enough, aren't doing enough, and aren't successful enough. Worse still, it is impossible to tell what is real and what isn't; so many "influencers" are portraying themselves as being happier and wealthier than they really are.
In an age where it is easier than ever to compare yourself to others, it becomes critical to rise above that urge. Set limits on how you use social media, and how you consume media in general, to maintain your control. These platforms are specifically designed for engagement, and they feed off of the natural drug centers of your brain. There are countless positive benefits to using these platforms, but only if you maintain control and follow your own rules.
Fight the urge to compare yourself to anyone else. The only thing that truly matters, with regards to your happiness, is striving to be a better version of yourself every day. Even though someone with a boatload of followers may look like they're living the life of your dreams, very rarely do you have the full story. Try to remember that they are selectively choosing and filtering the reality that you see. As former President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
This is a new section, with the goal being to provide a quick list of interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered each week.
Book I recently finished: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Normally, I read non-fiction because I find it more relevant; although I love fiction, it makes its way into my rotation in rare spurts these days. That said, this novella is absolutely beautiful. I don't want to say much other than read it, read it twice, and take your time winding your way through this beautiful story.
Book I'm reading now: Stare at Me by Joey Mullaney
Joey's memoir is captivating, funny, heart-wrenching, and extremely well-written. He has a way with words that is immediately apparent in the first few pages. If you aren't inspired and moved by this book, then check your pulse!
What I'm listening to: One up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch (audiobook)
This is a great intro to investment for beginners, but it also provides valuable insights for those who have been in the game for awhile. Peter is a local Boston guy who highlights the power of the retail investor and their ability to out-maneuver the big institutions in this audiobook.
What I'm watching: Danny Carey | "Pneuma" by Tool (LIVE IN CONCERT)
I used to be a drummer after trying many other instruments. I played classical violin as a child, then got into guitar, but never felt like I found my rhythm (pun intended). Regardless of your music tastes, Danny Carey is a master at work; watching him navigate the drums is hypnotic. This is especially worth watching if you have no idea what goes into percussion/drums at a professional level.
James Clear is the quintessential source on habits. His book, Atomic Habits, is mind-blowing and contains simple, practical advice on how to create lasting change with small steps. I have found the most success in attaining goals by focusing on the daily steps required to get there; James Clear has been a huge part of that process.
That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!
If you've been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe here:
Follow me on social media below: