It's difficult: A movie examines our relationship with social media

In a world of standing updates, indie filmmaker Kerith Lemon categorizes her relationship with trendy know-how beneath the “It is difficult” banner. And with good cause. Lemon, whose brief movie “A Social Life” casts a harsh mild on our addictive entanglement with social media, has dipped a toe in virtually each on-line networking platform. That involvement was primarily a requirement of her job on the time. Again within the early aughts, Lemon labored as an built-in-advertising specialist at Viacom, the place she dealt with model messaging for the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon and CBS Radio. “I jumped on all of them as a result of I wanted to know every part,” she says. “I am not exaggerating once I say that I signed up for eHarmony for a pitch to see how it might work.”

Lemon, nevertheless, quickly grew disillusioned with the world of selling and in 2011 decamped to Los Angeles to pursue her true ardour: filmmaking. There she labored as a contract producer till she received a name from Oprah’s OWN community to assist develop its digital video technique. After two and a half years as a VP at OWN, Lemon grew uninterested in telling different individuals’s tales and turned to social media “as an escape from the day-to-day grind.”

“I might be sitting on reverse ends of the sofa from my husband, checking e mail and social media, and I used to be like, ‘That is no strategy to reside!'” says Lemon of her “aha” second. “And it was virtually concurrently that each one these articles began popping up, paradoxically, in my social feed about social media jealousy and Instagram envy. And I used to be like, ‘Shit! I’ve that.’ And I did not prefer it as soon as it had a reputation … It isn’t me. I am not this individual.”

That wake-up name was what prompted Lemon to depart OWN and start work on a cathartic brief movie that might ultimately end in “A Social Life,” which has since made the rounds at numerous indie festivals. I spoke with Lemon about social media FOMO, habit and the effective line between our digital lives and the reality.

It's complicated: A film examines our relationship with social media

Is that this brief reflective of your private expertise? Does it mirror what you went via?

There’s lots of issues that I pulled from my very own life in there. I’ve by no means written one thing like this earlier than. I’ve written for different individuals. I’ve written for manufacturers … There’s plenty of moments within the film which are stolen from my life. The ending is totally exaggerated.

The facility of the visible is tremendous-fascinating to me, and as we take a look at how that’s distributed throughout the social media platforms, we’re actually solely offering tiny snapshots into our life. I imply, the thought of capturing our life in a photograph isn’t new. Individuals have needed to do that because the daybreak of cameras. However now with social media, we will distribute that to much more individuals. If you take these single pictures out of context, you’ll be able to publish one thing with a really sure intention, after which someone, the viewer on the opposite finish, might understand that with a totally totally different consequence. In order that’s occurred to me lots.

The factor of her taking the image of the wine bottle occurred to me. I obtained three lovely bottles of rosé, they usually have been probably the most lovely colours. Pink. And the sunshine was streaming by way of my house. I simply thought it was a stunning photograph. I have a tendency to make use of Instagram only for lovely footage. And I posted it and I even captioned it: “Cheaper than a aircraft ticket. I really like France.” And other people would write again and be like, “You are in France? The place are you?” … It clearly wasn’t my intention. I wasn’t mendacity about being in France. I used to be making an attempt to be ironic and humorous … However it will possibly occur so simply. I really feel like lots of the misperception occurs on the a part of the viewer and no matter you convey to viewing that photograph.

Going again to the rosé bottles and the misinterpretation of that picture you placed on Instagram: Once I watched the brief, I assumed to myself, OK, it appears that evidently you are implying right here that almost all of individuals’s social media lives are complete bullshit. That they are deliberately taking these photographs and framing these experiences to mislead individuals, to construct out this higher picture of their life and make it extra thrilling. Do you agree with that?

I do not assume nearly all of individuals do it with a very robust intention. I feel that there is lots of unconscious that occurs in our posts … I feel that particularly for profession-oriented individuals like me, which is the place I used to be coming to this from, in the event you begin to consider your model, you are making decisions about what photographs you publish and do not publish. That is to not say that she wasn’t doing all these issues. In my thoughts, the primary half of the film, she’s not dwelling a lie. Each time she needed to publish a photograph, she knew it contributed to her model — so she was selecting rigorously — however she meant to do all these issues.

However by the point we get to the afternoon of her staying at residence, now it is turning into extra manipulated, how small a advantageous line there’s between really dwelling the life you publish and with the ability to craft another life on-line.

In case you’re feeling down and out about being on social media on a regular basis, it’s a must to think about that this is just one photograph from this individual’s life. They usually might not even be doing that factor in that minute you are taking a look at it. However your mind, for no matter purpose, seems to be at that image and thinks that have to be occurring within the now. And you then really feel depressed or envious or jealous that you simply’re not on the market doing the identical enjoyable factor.

I did assume it was fascinating that there was this one scene the place she’s sitting on their lonesome on her sofa and she or he uploads a photograph of herself that is clearly been taken prior to now. And it seems to be as if that is occurring within the second, and there is all that jealousy. And I feel individuals do deliberately mislead others doing that stuff, no?

Oh, completely. However I additionally know that I publish previous selfies that have been simply nice footage of me and I assumed, I would not thoughts getting a bit love again on this. As a result of we take lots of self-value from the likes and a number of validation from these posts that we put up. I feel particularly for ladies. To not say that it does not occur for males that means.

I feel I interpreted the brief in another way from what I am getting from you when it comes to how I assumed you have been coming at it. From watching this brief, I obtained a really pessimistic view of social media via your lens, however it appears as if you are not as pessimistic about it.

I am an optimist. On the finish of the day — and that is the rationale I left the ending very open-ended — everyone has their very own difficult relationship with social media. And I needed individuals to have their very own opinion of what she perhaps goes on to do after this. As a result of for some individuals, like me, what I have to do after being caught on this social media loop is that I’ve to place my telephone down and depart it. I’ll go get a espresso with out my telephone. It drives my husband bonkers.

However for different individuals, it is about shutting down the app and opening up a guide on their telephone. Which is ok, too. However I simply consider that all of us want a stability. Like I stated, we give social media an excessive amount of credit score and an excessive amount of time from our lives.

It's complicated: A film examines our relationship with social media

Can we obtain a stability, contemplating that each different day there is a new app coming to take over and draw individuals’s consideration? Proper now you’ve gotten Twitter, Instagram, Fb and Snapchat. That is already a handful of issues for individuals to lose themselves in.

Oh yeah, for positive. As the youngsters say, “The wrestle is actual.” I feel it is attainable, and that brings up an entire dialog that is not included in my movie. However it’s a dialog I’ve had with lots of people after the pageant screening: “What about our youngsters?” Each era has their very own grievance about one thing taking over an excessive amount of time. Means again when, it was sitting in entrance of the radio for too lengthy. After which it was that sitting in entrance of the tv goes to kill you. And now it is that holding a tool in your hand goes to take your life early. That is existed for a very long time, however we will not let this new era develop up with out understanding that they need to make decisions for themselves and type their very own boundaries. Mother and father ask me on a regular basis, “What am I imagined to do about my child?” Properly, the reply just isn’t to remove their telephone.

Do you assume that there is any social media or digital backlash brewing?

I feel so, simply because it is so ubiquitous. I feel that there can be a phase of people who find themselves in a position, probably greater-revenue earners, who’re going to decide on to ship their youngsters to high school with no know-how. It is potential. And I feel that it is fascinating that numerous this dialog across the difficult relationship with know-how is coming from the tech world itself … Mark Zuckerberg’s sister has that entire Dot Difficult platform which does podcasts on a regular basis. Yeah, it is about new know-how, and she or he additionally is just not saying we should not use it, however simply once more creating that consciousness and eager about how are we gonna have stability in our lives and never get misplaced within the interwebs.

Why do I feel we’re persisting on this use if we all know that even the businesses know that it is dangerous for us? As a result of it is satisfying.

Because you’re highlighting how addictive this conduct is on social media and the narcissism concerned, and also you’re so conscious about that, do you now scale back your involvement within the totally different platforms? And what are you truly even utilizing?

Those I verify regularly are Fb, Instagram and Twitter. I feel that exhibits my age. I’ve an account on Snapchat: I work with a number of totally different creators, so I’ve that as a result of I take a look at what they’re posting and see what they’re doing. However I in all probability won’t ever Snapchat. I hold it sort of slim and easy … And I am a lot extra acutely aware about what I submit and share … Predominantly now, every part for me is sort of a model piece. Fb is type of family and friends — the place the marriage footage went. Twitter and Instagram are undoubtedly extra model retailers for me as a director and as a creator/storyteller.

We’re attending to the purpose the place Apple and Amazon have particular settings for his or her units to scale back the blue frequency [in LED screens], the wavelength, in order that it does not impair us as a lot and destroy our biorhythm so we will not fall asleep at night time. And but we’re persisting with all of this …

Why do I feel we’re persisting on this use if we all know that even the businesses know that it is dangerous for us? As a result of it is pleasurable. There’s so many research on the market that present what number of endorphins we get from the scrolling motion, which is loopy to me. That is why all of the websites moved to the lengthy scroll, since you take pleasure from that movement and attending to see new thrilling content material.

I imply, it’s addictive. Our our bodies are physiologically being modified. I feel it is accountable, and I am glad that the businesses are doing that, however I feel that it must be promoted in a larger means … We do not actually know what all this social media use is gonna do. We cannot know for some time period. We cannot know what all this know-how is gonna do to us for a while, as a result of it is all new.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Picture credit: “A Social Life,” directed by Kerith Lemon