The Price of a Like

Personal

We live in an age of connectedness but none of us is really “connected”.

Social media has brought us closer together, letting us communicate with those we normally would not be able to speak with. Through bringing together the globe, we are able to find our niche and communicate with those who share our similar interests.

However, why do we find ourselves seeking for validation off others? Why do we base our worth of “likes”? Is that what we have settled for, a virtual currency that we define our sense of worth off of?

We fail to find comfort in genuine human connection now, seeking instead to find a virtual connection. Real life communication has changed to “DM’s” and “tweets”. I am not saying these are bad, but rather understand that a balance must be made and if you find yourself clinging to each like, hoping to reach a certain number, it may be time to reflect.

If we examine the scene here on WordPress, it can become clear that individuals like and comment on posts in order to drive traffic over to their own blog, rather than connecting because they genuinely liked your post or have input they’d like to share. This, however, is common in the blogging scene and elsewhere in the media world, with bloggers leaving their links in others social media posts without any other input or with only the desire to receive traffic by hijacking someone elses posts.

By doing so, you are not connecting with others in a positive light, and without acknowledging it, you can be a part of the problem of the lack of connection between other individuals.

Listed below is a segment of an important article found on Huffington Post.

“The paradox effect in dating is creating the illusion of having more social engagement, social capital, and popularity, but masking one’s true persona. Since some are interfacing digitally more than physically it is much easier to emotionally manipulate others because they are reliant on what I call “Vanity Validation”. The one you portray on your networks and the true you, for some, creates a double consciousness.”

This is an important point to focus on; the aspect of a double consciousness. By creating these two personas, we are not able to be true to either one, rather we become a conjunction of either.

In the article, it also touches on the topic of a “highlight reel”.

“Since we’re only getting people’s highlight reels and comparing it to ourselves, it is natural to have reactions to what we’re watching.”

I believe that many people become obsessed with uploading the positives of their lives on social media, which normally gathers the most traffic. Individuals who see these posts will be more likely to compare their whole lives to these “segments” of other peoples lives rather than understanding that, just as the article states, it’s just a “highlight reel”.

On Time, an article that explores the correlation between posts and its effects, states, “A lot of us just kind of scroll through and see things passively,” Burke says. “We might not realize that we are internalizing it and that it can be affecting our attitudes about ourselves.”

It further this by stating “We should be careful about the way that we’re phrasing things,” she says. “We should be responsible posters and try to have a proactive, pro-health, positive message that makes people feel capable of engaging in these health behaviours.”

I believe this is an important post to focus on, to be a responsible poster who acknowledges that their uploads can and will affect their viewing base. By becoming proactive and pro-health, they will be able to influence their audience in a positive light.

By coming back to the premise of this post and by absorbing the messages laid out by both articles, hopefully, you as a reader can understand what your posting can do to others and why communicating with others in a positive way can benefit both parties.

As a final question, ask yourself, “what is a like to me and why do I need it?”

 

 

 

SHELOVESBOON- Into his mind

Personalities

Disclaimer: Reader discretion is advised.

SHELOVESBOON, a rapper from New York City, speaks about his mental health, his drug use, his portrayal of his mental state within his music as therapy, as well as who he is behind the scenes. BOON also speaks about his tour in New York City and the experience that listeners can get from attending.

Read below to discover who BOON is and why you should be excited by his revolution within the music industry.

How did the name Boon come to originate? Does it have some significance to who you are?

“Boon” really was a nickname I’ve been called by people who I’ve worked with. This whole “SHELOVESBOON” alias really came out one day in the studio with my gang and they all were like “that definitely fits my aesthetic”. I guess it’s some way of saying that women love me; platonically and romantically.

I usually pull a lot more girls to my shows than guys. It was all really an idea that we all thought of super high but then slowly I started to realize what it originated from and I can definitely see that with my crowd and relationships. “SHELOVESBOON” is kind of my twist on being a little playboy. I find it amusing, to be honest.

“Boon” originally was just a nickname but a boon, textbook definition, is essentially a blessing. I think it has some significance to my music career because it’s been quite a blessing for the year that I’ve pursued this [music] actively. Everything I’ve done so far has been a blessing and I’m so excited to continue to see how much more I can strive.

What style of music are you heavily involved with? Why is that?

It’s hard to pigeonhole my music. I wouldn’t say I’m involved in a certain style but all my music seems to be “hip-hop/r&b centric”. I’ve been more experimental with other sounds of mine, which if you really dig up on SoundCloud, you may be able to find. I’ve always categorized my music as “hip-hop/r&b” but I like to infuse as many genres and styles as I can. I have songs such as “And I’m Gone” that really is an uptempo slapper for turning up to. Then again, I have more self-reflective music such as “Losin’ My Mind” which delves into my own thoughts and headspace. I don’t like to limit myself to any subsection of hip-hop music, but I would say it is all “hip-hop-centric”.

How do you incorporate mental health into your music? What is its effect on you as well as your listeners?

As I said before, I have a lot of songs of mine that really talk a lot about what is going on in my head and my personal life. I feel that my listeners identify with the level of vulnerability I can have in some of my songs. Recently I posted “Might Be The Drugs” which was supposed to be a tribute to Lil Peep’s passing but also a tribute to kids like me who are lost in this world of ours and go through the things I am going through, such as substance dependency, loneliness, heartbreak, etc.

I have a bunch of other old songs, such as the tracks on the MUSE EP, which was really a whole EP about a relationship of mine I was going through which is what I drew all the inspiration from.

Something my listeners might not know is that certain songs that you’d think wouldn’t relate to my mental health, the crazy turn up songs to get the shows rowdy, are actually products of my mental health. Sometimes as an artist, I need to make songs that would take me out of the emotional mind state that I’m stuck in. The turn-up songs and the creation of them help me escape from the despair I may be feeling, even though people would assume those songs don’t reflect on my mental health.

Who are you behind the music? What do you do like to do when not involved in the music industry?

Behind the music, I’m really the same person you hear in the music. I spend hours in my studio and in my boys’ studios bouncing back ideas, constantly working on tracks. If that’s not what we’re doing, we’re smoking mad gas, turning up, throwing shows, performing, and just in general, being super involved in the underground music scene in New York City. Music has taken a bunch of my life up, to be honest, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides music though, I do have a job in fashion design for a very reputable brand. I like to keep my persona in music separated from my professional life, but I can say I work for a company that is known for their iconic boxers.

 

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“BOON” in his element.

 

What is the story behind how you became involved in music?

Man, I’ve been writing songs since I was about 12 years old. When I started to take it professionally, I released my first song on SoundCloud close to two years ago. It was called “Sixteen” and it was all about a relationship I had gotten out of at the end of high school. At the end of that relationship, I really was thinking all about how I put so much energy into a relationship that I was in when I was really young and that was when I started realizing I had way more to accomplish in music and in life, that I couldn’t let myself stay in that toxic relationship any longer.

Weeks or so later, I dropped my second ever song “Binge” which was all about drug use that was starting to creep up into my life. I was in a period of where I felt an emotional void, that I seemed to compensate for with a constant and reckless lifestyle. My first two songs really we’re all about me in the moment that they came out. To this day, they’re still some of my fan favourites even though I look back at them now as my rawest work. Ever since those songs though, I continued to work on music because I was saw that people were identifying with it and showing my humble first attempts some love.

 

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SHELOVESBOON and Lily Jiang, A Member of Boon’s Creative Team.

 

You state that Depression has been prevalent in your life? How has it affected you? How do you keep motivated on days that you feel low?

I mean in this age, can we say depression hasn’t affected a lot of the underground and upcoming rappers? It’s more than the depression, it’s about the bipolar tendencies, the manic tendencies, the ridiculous emotional spectrum that people go through. I feel that artists, in whatever realm whether it is music, art, drama, writing, etc, all have a similar plight. They’re emotions drive their work and I feel like the struggles I’ve had with my own mental health and depression itself has caused me to make certain music.

Certain songs of mine are about exact moments of my life where I was in a dark place. Other songs of mine were made in an attempt to get me out of a dark place and put me in a more upbeat vibe. It’s interesting because emotional peaks and plateaus have always been rampant in my life, so I turn to music to be my own form of therapy. It helps me understand myself but it also helps me avoid the darker sides of me as well.

 

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An examination of “BOON’s” mental health depicted in his music.

 

On the days that things are specifically bad and if you’re reading this and are having one of those days, just know things get worse before it gets better. S*** will happen and s*** will hit the fan to the point where you don’t even know how to function anymore. Each day becomes more painstaking than the last and you’ll resort to things to numb your pain. But the most beautiful part of it all is that things will always get better, no matter how worse they get. Along with my love for music, that’s what motivates me to keep going every day.

Drug use is a part of your life as shown in your music, how does this impede and/or help you in regards to your mental health?

I do experiment with some drugs, that definitely does come through clear with my music. I’m not the type of person to condone drug use but I’m not the one to fault you for it either. We all have our vices and we all have a reason for our vices. All I want is for people to be safe. For me, my vices help me escape some of the depression and old thoughts/feelings that I had experienced. They help me keep going and numb the pain that I feel. Sometimes it brings out a different side of me and it really does help my creative process too. All that being said, I make sure to stay safe with what I use. I make sure that I’m not developing unhealthy habits and I make sure to be in safe situations. That’s all I recommend for anyone reading this because who is anyone to talk about your own decisions?

 

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“BOON”.

 

You are going on tour soon, what will readers have to look forward to? Where will you be playing and with who?

I’m doing a show this NYE weekend with Lonny X, Goth Girlfriend, and Doro. It’s at The Gateway (1272 Broadway, Brooklyn), and it’s gonna be one of our most turnt up shows ever. I’m performing some new music during the set. If anyone’s around the New York City/Brooklyn area, definitely come through. The shows I’ve been doing in the New York City area have been so popping and the energy is unreal. I have more shows lined up for the new year also in New York City so if you want to keep tabs on those shows, the best way to keep up with them is following me on Instagram and Twitter.

 

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SHELOVESBOON’s tour alongside artists “LONNY X”, “GOTH GF” and “DORO”.

 

If you can give advice to readers who may be struggling to get their name out there and/or start their journey into the industry, what would you say?

The only thing I think I could say to people trying to break into the music industry is to keep grinding. No matter how small the shows, no matter how few the plays, no how little the “clout”, it doesn’t matter at all. Keep grinding and the more work you put into yourself and your content, the more success you’ll see. It really all depends on how far you want to take this music. I know people that make it for the sole purpose of enjoying their craft and I know people that want to launch a lucrative career off of their projects, but at the end of the day, it comes right down to your work ethic. Work harder than you’ve ever worked for music if it’s really your passion.

To follow SHELOVESBOON’s career, make sure to check out his social media accounts and follow him:

Twitter:

Instagram:

SoundCloud:

 

 

Social Media: Does it AFFECT our mental health?

Journalism

Social media, is it really social?

According to “Social Media Statistics Australia” in August of 2017, 17 million users are active on Facebook in Australia, there are 5 million active Instagram users as well as 4 million active daily Snapchat users to name but just a few. Social media has taken over control of most individuals and I am no exception. Daily checks of our social media accounts have become religious actions, with the constant observation of our “like” and “follow” sections becoming our sole vision.

In this article, I am not shaming the use of social media but rather I am observing the effect of its influence over our lives; both positive and negative. I find the concept of social media to be great as it allows the communication of individuals from all over the globe. Through this, we can exchange ideas and further our knowledge and ideas, as well as be pushed out of our comfort zone through the knowledge of differing beliefs and concepts to our own.

The use of my blog, klhwriting, is a prime example of this point. I research articles and points to further my understanding of various topics and then write my own posts in regards to topics I feel strongly about, communicating those concepts with my readers. Individuals then comment and like the post, furthering the reach of the post and continuing this cycle; thus, expanding the audience that reads my posts.

This is true for other social media influencers who have much larger followings than myself, influencing other individuals with their work either directly or indirectly. Although sometimes not intentional, the impact of social media stars have over their fanbase can be astounding.

Bodily image perception is a point that comes to my mind immediately. Through observation of their favorite stars, individuals may feel that in order to fit the “conventional look of attractiveness” they must look like their stars. What they may not understand that these stars have undergone various photo shoots to capture the best photos, perhaps out of hundreds. The use of Adobe Photoshop and filters on the photos are also common use.

The Conversation states, “The greater the effort and concern around creating and posting the most attractive selfies, the greater the body image concerns.”

They continue further by saying, “People can become trapped in a vicious world. They anxiously await “likes” and feedback from others, then feel wounded and disappointed if the desired response is not forthcoming. They then feel even more distressed and anxious about their appearance.”

This is a major concern that is infiltrating the youth of today, but also the majority of society. The desire for acceptance and/or approval of one’s self-worth becomes evident.

The Sydney Morning Herald conducted a study in which 150 undergraduate students conducted surveys 5 times a day for 5 days. ” For each survey, they reported if they had compared their appearance with someone else’s, and whether they made that comparison after looking at social media, traditional media or in person. They also reported whether they thought the person looked better, the same or worse than them. They then rated their body image, mood and thoughts of dieting and exercising.”

The report also states that “Women reported being in the worst mood after social media comparisons relative to other comparisons. When women made social media comparisons, they also reported being unhappier with their appearance and more motivated to start unhealthy weight-loss activities, like going on a diet, than when they made comparisons in person.”

Similar results were also reported for men and individuals of other ages.

 

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Instagram, the social media giant that allows users to share pictures to all their followers.

 

The Guardian furthers this point with their own article which inspects the impact that social media has upon the viewers. It is brought forth that celebrities as well as friends, can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals due to the “Airbrushed” effects on pictures of individuals.

“Around 70% of women aged 18 to 35 regularly edit their images before posting them – as do 50% of men in the same age group.” This data was collected by the Renfrew Center Foundation, an organisation that focuses on the impacts of eating disorders.

As shown by these statistics it becomes evident that social media can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of individuals and action must be done to combat the effects it has. However, I do endorse the positive effects of social media as well, due to being an avid user, especially of YouTube which allows me to view large selections of informing and entertaining videos.

In the meantime, I can just strongly recommend for users of social media to understand the impact that social media CAN have and find their own ways to combat this. This can be done through the removal of individuals who impact your mental wellbeing negatively as well as limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day.