In the opening scene, you see a beautiful girl waking up, in her 20’s, in a beautiful bedroom, living a so called beautiful life. The first thing she does when her alarm wakes go’s off, is look at her Instagram feed. Do you do this? Do you go to sleep and the last thing you check is your Facebook? We’d be better off with a little meditation or a phone conversation with a loved one. Throughout the film, the girl looks at her smart phone just about every 30 seconds, then more and more. The special effects are brilliant, as we see the reflection in mid-air of exactly what she is seeing, emoticons and everything. We wonder, is she doing this, for entertainment, boredom, keeping up with her friends? More like, validation.
A Social Life is the story of Meredith, a career focused young woman. She strives to live a balanced life: staying fit, working hard and connecting with friends. Sharing these moments online is an important part of her day-to-day; she is creating her “image” within her broader social media friend base. Meredith awakes one day and realizes that her reflection is merely the collection of photos that she has shared with others.
The Director and Producer, Kerith Lemon, is a California native and former executive at MTV and the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is just back from Australia where the film was accepted at the Canberra Short Film Festival and won an award for Best Actor. The lead actress, who plays Meredith is actually LA-based Screenwriter Rosalind Ross, won an award there for Best International Actor. When broaching the subject of why Ms. Lemon produced the film, she said “A Social Life isn’t meant to be a cautionary tale to tell people how to live their lives. It is a mirror of what I know that I look like and what is happening to me emotionally by being connected 24/7. I was curious if we’re really living the life that we post and wanted to open a dialogue about what this is doing to our self- image.”
As we get deeper into this short film, the mood go’s from upbeat to pretty sad. Although it supposedly has a happy ending, it leaves us wanting more after eight minutes. The film really brings up a cultural phenomena shaping how we behave as individuals and within society, in an unbiased way. Whether we are living the life we post, or not, we want to discuss what effect does this have on one’s confidence level and that of our extended community. Self-judging, comparing ourselves to others and perfectionist ideals, can lead to low self-esteem, which can result in a desire to be isolated.
Actually, we probably are more isolated than ever before, in America, at least, with the advent of the internet, texting and emailing anyway. In Los Angeles, were either in the car, or online, unlike compact urban cities which are more common, in Europe or even New York City, where there are still serendipitous moments on the street. Social media accentuates it even more, resulting in lack of face-to-face time socially and in business. Humans need connection, physical contact and to be part of groups. Why do you think so many entrepreneurs work at Starbucks? It ain’t for the burnt coffee!
There is something that the medical community has labeled as “Societal depression,” which is the result of our lifestyle changes over the past century. It suggests that the level of physical activity necessary to provide life’s basic resources has diminished. So we’re going way back, to our hunter and gatherer ancestors, that expended excessive physical effort to obtain their food. Their skeletal remains indicate the presence of considerably more muscular tissue than observed in contemporary humans. Technology in homes such as refrigerators, dishwashers and other products have created less physical exertion in maintaining a household. Now we have such highly-advanced technology, we can do everything from an iPhone.
The introduction of technology has clearly made an impact on society. Reductions in the degree of our physical activity affect the brain areas essential for reward-pleasure, motivation, problem solving, and coping strategies. There is definitely more to this conversation each individual probably sees themselves and society in a unique way. As with anything, our every-day decisions impact our own life and much of the time, our health. Although it is hard to completely disconnect altogether and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Are you living the life you post? Is this your life? Or just a curated brand? I know, I’m guilty of it, as I’ve been told “Eat, not Tweet” at the dinner table. As a result, when dining with others, I now prefer to turn off my phone completely. Perhaps we should consider honoring “live now, post later.” That’d be a good start.
Check out the trailer HERE. The film is due for release to the public in early 2016.