April 20, 2014

But first, let me tell you why selfies are addicting.


Have you ever deleted a photograph on Instagram because it didn’t hit the 11 like mark?

Or have you deleted a status on Facebook because there wasn’t enough interaction with it? Felt “high” on a status that acquired 80 likes?

Research done by a CSUN psychology professor, Dr. Delinah Hurwitz, suggests that people overuse Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites because of an addiction to endorphins released in the body during the process of posting.

It might explain why we wake up with our cell phones in the morning.

One in five page views in the United States is on Facebook. 40 million photographs are uploaded per day on Instagram and there are 1,000 comments per second. Twitter users post 750 tweets per second.

There was a satirical article released this week on “selfie” takers having a mental disorder. It talked about the obsessive compulsive tendencies to take a photo and post it on social media, and watch it accumulate likes which in turn fuels low self esteem and fills an intimacy gap.

I didn’t think it strayed too far from the truth.

A Facebook or Instagram “like” is essentially like someone passing you on the street and telling you, “Hey! Your new jeans make your butt look like Ryan Goslings abs!”

Endorphins are hormones released within the brain and nervous system that causes a state of well being. We release endorphins naturally through laughing, running, eating chocolate or spicy food, listening to music or having sex. Endorphins are our “feel good drugs.”

What if we are stimulated in a similar way from Instagram and Facebook “likes” and Twitter favorites as well?

Social media can be addicting—throw it in there with cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and therapy shopping.

I’m not saying you should go on a social media strike.

I kiss the ground upon which technology walks; it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends you’ve met across the sea, family that lives in a different province, market and promote your business. Google is Jesus reincarnated.

The other day doing research online for an upcoming film, I found a British ornithologist through Twitter after searching for five minutes on Google and he tweeted me back within the hour. That’s amazing!

Social media is a cost effective, powerful and incredible tool in the marketing world. It’s also a great way to stay close to people in your life, and stay aware of the news of our world.

The Dalai Lama is on Facebook, and so is my grandma.

So if social media will continue to thrive—perhaps we should listen to the truth behind Delinah Hurwitz’s words. We must be careful not to allow social media to be a direct IV hookup to our self-esteem. Allowing selfies, photographs of food, check ins at restaurants, and statuses to feed our egos is backwards and damaging.

Using social media is fine as long as you balance living out there in the world with real fleshy human beings—the ones you can hold eye contact with, crack a smile over a joke, followed by some belly keeling  ha-ha’s.

It’s the difference between buying socks because all of yours were eaten by the dryer or buying a new shirt every weekend to boost self esteem.

Like most things, social media requires balance and moderation.

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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons


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Ripa Apr 30, 2014 7:54pm

Dear Janne,

Great to hear from you and thanks for sharing…yes, technology has put us in touch, so we can be grateful to it for the connection : )

Amazing about the kindling!

And so glad to hear the Susie Bear article helped you start disintegrating our fears about bears. Let me know if you ever come to SF – I would be happy to connect you with the Wildlife Sanctuary.

Your work sounds awesome – would be very interested to learn about the possible solutions to street dog overpopulation. Dogs have become very close to my heart in these past few years and I was so deeply saddened to learn of the fate of so many of them here in the U.S. and other places.

I was born in Ohio, went to college in NYC, and then moved to SF after a life-changing trip to India (where my parents were born and raised). I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world : )

For work, I do personal financial planning and offer Ayurveda health consultations. I also teach Yoga and Ayurveda at a school here in the SF Bay Area. Ayurveda is all about restoring our connection w/ nature ~ I feel like you'd really connect with it (if you haven't already!). Feel free to check out my website for more: http://www.wholeyoga-ayurveda.com.

One of my good friends from a social entrepreneurship scholarship program I was part of in college has written a book called Everyday Ambassador, about how the power of technology is not in the tool, but rather the intentions of the person using it—and how we can overcome the hidden tech traps in our own lives. Let me know if you'd like me to connect you with her; I'm sure she'd find your article really interesting. Feel free to email me at [email protected].

Warm wishes,

Ripa Apr 28, 2014 2:55pm

Dear Janne,

This is a great article – I wish it could be printed out and given to every high schooler out there…can't imagine how hard it would have been to have had all this social media around when I was in high school…so many windows through which low self-esteem can get even lowered. I can see how many instances where social media has hurt my sister, who is in high school, and worry sometimes about how kids in her generation will manage in their in-person connections.

BTW – you also seem like you live a fascinating life! What is kindling and how are you doing in your process of making friends w/ black bears? I know an amazing man out here in SF Bay Area who has a Wildlife Sanctuary where they care for injured and abandoned animals. He has an incredible story about his life-altering friendship with a black bear: http://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=377

Warm wishes,

Raine Apr 23, 2014 2:15pm

Hmmm. No wonder. I have read quite a few studies correlating the over use of social media sites and narcissism. I totally agree with your view point. I think this is why I stay away from selfies, facebook, and the likes. Interesting article.

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Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is a 21st-century feminist beat poet. Her voice haunts with the legacy of early feminists and poets such as Gloria Steinem, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac. Her no sugar shit prose cuts with the honesty and simplicity of Bukowski and the romantic reliability of Kerouac. Her poetry leads like a woman, walking with fire in the footprints of Steinem—breathing sexual liberation, choice, and overall championing women to their birthright of not only equality but leadership.

Robinson notoriously states that her career is to “share slabs of her heart for a living.” Her ability to capture the human experience with unrefined sincerity makes her an incredible force in the modern landscape of personal expression.

Her loyal following of enthusiasts on social media are there not only for her brutal honesty and lyrical grace but also for her lifestyle, which is a mirror of her devotion to joy and refusal to work to work to work to die. Robinson’s films and art shit on the societal “shoulds” and norms and encourage people to ‘build their own box’. She is an outrageous idealist and master at effortlessly marrying the life she wishes to live with her work, and this enrages and inspires many who believe they are trapped.

Robinson’s foray into directing and the multimedia world was in directing a spoken word poetry film in NYC involving 18 women reading the lines from her poem, “This Is For The Women Who Don’t Give a Fuck.” The film was a viral sensation online and was nominated for the 2016 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards.

Janne is very much so crowning at the beginning of what is and will be a triumphant career, and she has begun so with the hearts of millions indebted and watching as it is rare to stumble upon a woman who makes revolution nature.

You can connect with her on Instagram or at her website.