Why You Shouldn't Do It for the 'Gram
The whole “social media isn’t real life” argument is an annoying one, and not just because it’s been preached about by The New York Times, celebrities, and even Instagram stars themselves. (Your mom has probably added her two cents, too.) Everyone knows that the photos we post aren’t always a reflection of reality, but much of the chatter about social media has been entirely one-sided. Fortunately, the new flick A Social Life presents a very real, very 3-D look into our lives behind the screen: showcasing the good, the bad, and the unfiltered.
Written and directed by Kerith Lemon, this 8-minute short film follows Meredith, a girl who spends a lot of her time creating Instagram-perfect opportunities. Spoiler alert! All those likes and comments don’t mean anything IRL—something she finds out the hard way. Whether it’s arranging her shoes for a workout (then never hitting the gym), or getting the perfect selfie before going out (but never actually leaving her house), A Social Life shows how we can change our schedules and alter our lifestyles, all for the sake of an Insta or Snapchat.
The plot might sound familiar—it's impossible not to see a little bit of yourself in Meredith—but the mini movie manages to get at the crux of the issue without even saying a word (literally, there’s barely any dialogue!). Kerith’s inspiration for the film arose from her own experiences working a lot and experiencing FOMO online. “I didn’t want the film to tell anyone how they should live their life; I just wanted to paint a picture of a character behaving in ways that I have both seen and even done myself,” she explained. “I was aiming for a kind of ‘honesty mirror’ where the audience could recognize a little bit of themselves in the character and that would maybe prompt them to discuss and reflect and even hopefully change.”
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, maybe the key is occasionally stepping away from the phone. “For me, it’s not about quitting. Social media can be tremendously positive. But, as with most things in life, everything is best in moderation,” Kerith explained. “Still get out there and take pictures of the beauty that you see, capture moments with your friends. But, when you take the time out of the thing you’re doing to find the best filter, and think of the best caption, and probably sneak a look at your friends' posts while you’re on there… that’s the part where you’re missing out on a little bit of life.”
Contrary to popular belief, social media doesn’t have to dictate what you do, and when you do it. So take it from Kerith: “Save those pics and post them when you get home or the next morning, that is what #latergram is for. Or not; It’s really up to you.”
A Social Life screens this Friday, March 4th, at the Pasadena International Film Festival. Watch the trailer and see more screenings here.