The Dangers in Media Consumption:

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While I’ve been sick I’ve been spending a lot of time online. I’ve been checking out all corners of the internet. I’ve read deep into both sides of politics, I’ve read about science, and I’ve watched some teen YouTube stars. When you dive into each of these universes it’s a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. You get consumed by it for the few hours your online.

What we don’t think about that much is what it does to us when we log off. Certain ideas stick with us and we’re not blind to them, but what we tend to miss is the fact that our mental vocabulary changes to meet what we’ve been consuming. The ideas overcome us.

A good example of this was when I was reading extreme feminist Twitter accounts. A few days after I was in my car and this song came on and I thought “this song is really good and so emotional, how is it even written by a man?” It took me back because I couldn’t believe what I just thought. I had been reading about emotionless men and “toxic masculinity” that I accidentally started to internalize it. There is no reason for me to think of men this way. All the men I’ve been in relationships with have shown emotions to me and their masculinity never was toxic. I actually enjoy masculine traits in men. I knew men could be emotional, so why had I forgotten it? Continue reading

Aesthetically Speaking

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Sometime last week I was going through my social media feeds and noticing that I follow a lot of minimalist accounts, ones that lack color, but are super sleek. I went through my own Tumblr and noticed that huge sections of it lacked bright colors as well- and so does my Pinterest. I’ve always laughed that my Tumblr is a good representation of my aesthetic. The problem with this idea is if you then look at this blog full of my photos you’ll see… a lot of color.

It’s true my fashion style is pretty minimalist, I like basic shapes and I pretty well steer clear of pattern. But, I do wear colors too, mostly jewel tones. My Pinterest fashion board is washed of most jewel tones though because the lines and shapes I like tend to be showcased by people who wear neutrals and think navy is a flashy color. There’s nothing wrong with that, I clearly love their outfits, but it made me step back and question what I’ve always said is my aesthetic.

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Magazine of the Moment: Belong

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I’ve been reading more magazines than books, mostly because my attention span has been shot lately. But I’ve had a ton of quality reading material either way! I snatched this copy up at Barnes & Noble. It’s a magazine based around social media marketing! In other words it was a honey trove of information and beautiful pictures. (Which is what social media is all about right?)

This issue focused on the topic of hospitality, both on and offline. It talks about big blogger and entrepreneur events, hosting people, and how to treat people online to make them feel welcome. It had one article that talked about forming the kind of online relationships that last which struck a chord with me.

This magazine was only issue five, so it’s still fairly early on. I’m thinking about going back and buying at least one or two of the earlier issues once I get paid for the month!

How to Beat Social Media

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Did you know social media is linked to depression? Well, it is. The principle behind it is that you see other people doing awesome things and you compare that to you not doing awesome things. I think we’ve all been victims of that. I think we’ve also all been known to try to portray our life as a more interesting one than it is on social media.

Which is fine, I mean, I only want to remember the good stuff three years from now scrolling through my instagram. The real solution isn’t to post everything online, but to remember that nobody does. We’re missing all the ugly cries and silly fights from that one blogger who seems to have everything together.

But I’m telling you things you already know. We’ve been lectured not to compare our lives to others for as long as we’ve been alive. That’s all fine and well, but it doesn’t stop us from doing it. Which is why I’m going on to post these solutions for fighting back against social media’s bad side effects:

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Social Media and Shame: Let’s talk about it

We’ve all been there before, haven’t we? We have a picture up on Instagram ready to publish, or a tweet, or a status and we’re wondering if it’s right- not because it will hurt anyone, not because it’s mean- but because… haven’t I posted five pictures of my horse in the past two days? Nobody needs another selfie of me, I’m not that pretty. Do my inspirational quotes get on peoples nerves? I know I shouldn’t be this proud of my cooking- it’s not that photogenic!

I shouldn’t post this.

See all the horse pictures? Four in one day, that's how you do it.

See all the horse pictures? Four in one day, that’s how you do it.

We’re ashamed of how we’re viewed on social media, we take our self conscious thoughts and transfer them onto internet and app accounts. We think people will judge us or simply get tired of repetition. We’re not using the accounts for anything we should be, their uses, to socialize with friends (who shouldn’t be judging you anyways?) or to share things we enjoy, to record our memories.

We forget that instagram isn’t really about how many likes you get on the eighth picture of your day-cation in twenty minutes. It isn’t about trying not to spam.

To be honest, I think one of the coolest things about instagram and twitter to not just the sharing (though how cool is it that my over sea’s friends can know my day without me having to repeat the same story five times!), it’s about being able to look back and say “Wow, do you remember what it was like to be eighteen? Look at this! Listen to what I was thinking that day!” or to hear your grand kids laugh “Grandmom, did you really dress like that! That was back in style last year.” or “You looked just like mom when you were her age!”

Remember, social media isn’t supposed to be about counting likes to see how “social” you are. It’s supposed to be about sharing things you love and even more than that, remembering the things you love- and doing so with joy.

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On the Insta:

Untitled-5Here are some of my favorite Instagram’s I’ve posted in the two weeks I’ve been out for the summer. It includes Magnolias, sunsets, trail rides, and a nest we found empty in our front yard!

I would love if you guys kept up with me across social media, and I check out all the people who follow me!

Instagram: anna_katherine_o  //  Facebook page: Anna Down South   //   Tumblr: annadownsouth  //    Twitter: AnnaKatherineO

Trigger Warnings: Hurtful or Helpful?

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We recently ran a sexual assault article in my campus news paper, with big bold red letters at the top offering a trigger warning. We talked about it a lot in our meeting the following week, because there was information at the bottom of the article about events going on on campus for sexual assault survivors. Did we just turn away the people who could have benefited from the article?

When you go online you see a lot of trigger warnings on blog posts, all over tumblr, and on every other platform. Our society has gotten a lot more aware of the fact that people are sensitive to certain topics. The question isn’t whether or not things can be triggering, especially when it comes to topics like sexual assault, the question is more about how our society has come to handle trigger warnings.

When I first saw this topic approached it was online. Someone had told someone that they should put trigger warnings on their tumblr blog posts about weight, because the blogger talked about how unhappy she was with her body and what all she thought was wrong with it, and the person asking the “question” said that she was bigger then her and it triggered self hatred in herself. I thought that the anon was being a little intense, because after all, did this girl not have the right to talk about why she decided to change her diet and start running?

I thought, wow, we’ve become a culture that is over sensitive to everything, and in a lot of ways I still stand by that statement. But at the same time, it’s all over our TV shows and movies, we clearly are expected to deal with it in some areas. Why is it okay in some and wrong in another?

I’ve thought long and hard about this topic and have decided on this: We shouldn’t have to filter our statements and personal stories. Our experiences can help others, our articles might have important information at the bottom. Our world, our victims can really use others stories to relate to and help them grow. Does that mean that we don’t go through a period of time where we really don’t want to read those things? Of course not. Should we have to put a trigger warning on all of them?

I don’t think so. I think that instead of putting “Trigger Warning” in bold at the top of every real down to earth post we should maybe in the first few sentences of our article or post say up front: This is a story of sexual assault -or- when I was suicidal I felt -or- when I hated my body and weight I felt.

If we put red letters on top of everything we say that tell people to turn away, we won’t really be doing anyone any good by sharing. In the same way we won’t do anyone any good by posting too graphic scenes up without any opening statement. Our culture hasn’t yet figured out how to balance, and I think it’s about time we learned.