Think Piece: Dare to disconnect?
When starting a business nowadays, large or small, the importance of social media has become unparalleled. Algorithm issues aside, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have become indispensable in order to promote yourself and/or products to customers and other businesses. They’re free to use and sign-up to, which means no expenses on advertising (unless you want to spend a little cash for Facebook to promote your posts to what they think is a “target group” with the promise of reaching 1000 accounts but in fact reach accounts that have little to no interest in your business… thanks Facebook.) Sounds great, right?
If you don’t have a business but you enjoy posting pictures of your fashion, travel, hobbies, thoughts, and ideas—there are platforms for you! Who knew you could become a celebrity without ever having to leave your room!? You can take pictures and upload videos from the comfort of your own home, and if you gain enough popularity you could make a career out of it! Sounds great, right?
Career aside, simply gaining recognition from others makes you feel like you’re doing something good. If you feel good about an outfit and a lot of people comment on it, it makes you feel like you’re making good fashion choices. And as your followers grow, you might think “Wow, I’m actually really good at this!” Also, social media allows us to form communities and share with those we would never have been able to connect with otherwise. That’s why this platform, The Comm, was created!! To bring everyone with a common interest to one place without the barrier of language. Sounds great, right?
Now before this starts to sound like the premise for an episode of Black Mirror (I promise it’s not!), here’s some food for thought. These are all great benefits of social media—but what happens when you don’t post to social media? Like the famous saying goes: if you don’t post your outfit, and nobody online sees it, did you even wear it?
Many in Tokyo have said that social media is responsible for taking street fashion off of the streets for it to instead only exist on Instagram. The scene still exists, but now comes in a digital format. As mentioned in a previous issue, there really is no need to rely on being street snapped anymore in order to be validated as a trendsetter when you can upload a picture of yourself and see the reactions in real time.
As someone who uses Instagram to post pictures of my outfits, I won’t deny that I get a sense of satisfaction when seeing my follower count grow and people interacting with my posts. The danger comes when you begin to realise what kind of posts will get more interaction, which hashtags you should use and what time you should upload. Sure, you want people to see what you’re posting—but there’s a fine line between that and tailoring all your content just for likes. For example, I know that a post on The Comm instagram of someone wearing an all-pink, accessory-heavy, over-the-top “kawaii” look will probably get more attention than a toned-down, more mature look. This is not to say that either look is better—not at all!—because to me, both deserve to be represented. Representing all genres of street fashion is at the core of what we believe in at The Comm, so I make sure to post with integrity and not pander to likes. Whether it is your business or yourself, you should stay true to that and take what others say with a grain of salt.
The reaction to things on social media is so fast and forgotten just as quickly, so make sure at least in that moment you’re putting something online that is as much for your enjoyment as it is for others. And if it’s all becoming too much, and you’ve joined one too many boost groups, and you feel pressure to post every intimate detail of your life with random strangers on the internet… maybe it’s time to disconnect from all your social media accounts and reconnect with the offline world. At least for a little while.
Personally, I would like to push for a balance between the instantaneity of social media and the longevity of the physical. And who knows? Maybe someday The Comm will become a physical magazine…
So, do you dare to disconnect?