This year I managed to do something I have always been terrified to do—get up on stage in front of everyone and deliver a talk—and not just any talk, a TEDx talk! I have always had crippling stage fright, but it was important to me to deliver this message, so I practiced HARD for 3 months and finally mustered up the courage to step into that little red circle. So here it is, my first ever TEDx (at NMIMS), I hope you like it!
It was this weird excitement that all my friends, and some random acquaintances would read this and think I’m so cool! I could send them virtual gifts, find old boyfriends and see how awful they looked now (raise your hand if you’ve ever stalked an ex on Facebook!)
So ya, I drank the Kool-aid. I was obsessed. I’d literally post pictures of EVERYTHING I did. And suddenly my world was repopulated with everyone who’s name or face I could remember. Amazing right?!
It was like being in a virtual living room walking around having various simultaneous conversations with people without that awkward introduction of who you are, what you do, what you’re doing here… I was able to dive right in! No invitation required!
This ability to communicate with more people than otherwise humanly possible, by typing 140 characters and hitting send—amazing, right?
I have a really tragic Instagram story. If you remember the first time Instagram launched, it was only available for iPhone users. I couldn’t get it because I didn’t have an iPhone and I even started a “Malini needs an iPhone” campaign with no success.
If I knew then, what I know now, I would probably have thought very differently about what I posted. But how would I have known that? Social media was a free for all—sign up, login, do your worst.
So I asked myself this, if there were no likes and a public display of my followers, would I still use social media the same way? And what does that say about me? We really are in the matrix in a sense. The future we keep talking about is NOW. We’re here. We’re in it. Maybe we just don’t know how to live there yet.
So imagine social media as a virtual version of an actual party. Would you go take selfies of yourself, hand them out to everyone and leave without saying a word? Would you point at the host and loudly say how ugly her dress is? Would you just drop your pants to say hi?! I hope the answer is no.
So then WHY do we treat the internet like the dumping ground for all our negative emotions? And never for a second think about the fact that everything we ever post is a reflection of ourselves and it’s going to be there FOREVER!
Imagine if your kids are Googling you one day. Is there something you wish they’d never see? Chances are they will!
For the longest time I couldn’t figure out who I am, I’m not Huda Beauty or Kim Kardashian West or some Bollywood star, so who is Malini? And I realised I am happiest being Optimist Prime! So, I’m making that a thing! You may not have realised this but your social media identity is a digital representation of who you are. And it’s leaving an ever-lasting imprint. So, make it a good one.
Now you’re thinking, “Shoot! My imprint has a few muddy footprints. How do I erase them?” The truth is, you can’t, but you can do better starting NOW. Literally from your next tweet or comment, you can be your best self.
Your followers are not numbers, they’re people. And it’s time we treat them as such. These are people choosing to witness your life, experience your thoughts, and who’re being affected by your posts. What are you making them feel? I believe we would care more if we unsee the numbers and focus on the people.
So start today! Take out your phones and put some love out into the universe. If you want to use a filter, filter out the negativity! When you declutter your social media, you will declutter your mind. When you surround yourself with endless optimism you will attract positivity. And if we all make our mission the pursuit of happiness, we won’t have time for trolls or become them. If there is one thing I want you to take away from this talk it is this:
If you don’t like what’s on social media today I challenge you to change what you put on it. It’s time to take charge of your social media legacy.
P.S: Big love to Shrutee Jadav and Samira Major for walking me through this and listening to me practice ad nauseam, I couldn’t have done it without you or the wonderful audience at NMIMS!