After watching the movie Not Okay…I have to admit, I feel a lot better about my status on the world wide web.
Hello. My name is Eidhne. The answer is no. I don’t get stared at in the street. I don’t have a big following on Instagram. I’m not a verified TikTok star. I don’t have a thousand friends on Facebook. I don’t get called out on Twitter. Aside from a few that I actually can consider friends, nobody really gives a damn what I do. And you know something?
I prefer it that way.
We live in a society where everybody is competing to see who can get the most likes on Instagram, and who has the most friends on Facebook. Social media is continuing its quest to consume all of mankind. In my teenage years, I admit, I was the sort of person who was desperate to get some form of attention online. I’d write posts, upload photos, share links, send out multiple friend requests, all in an attempt to get noticed online. Looking back on it, I think I was really desperate for someone – anyone – that I ‘friended’ on Facebook, would reach out and become a real friend.
I’m just after looking on my Facebook page. I don’t post on there anywhere near as much as I used to. At the moment, I’m currently sitting at 599 ‘friends.’ How many of these friends actually interact with what I post online? Only a few. But they are the few that actually do care about me.
Back when I was a teenager, I was desperate to be recognized. I tried everything, acting, singing, performing. I’d post photos online all the time, make status updates every half an hour, but the attention would only last for a short while before it would disappear. Once it went, I would be left wondering what I’d have to do next to get a bit more attention. I’d be staring at my Facebook page, scrolling through the posts, comparing the amount of likes I got to the ones received by others. It was maddening.
I guess, at some point in our lives, we all want to be just a little bit popular.
If I could speak to my sixteen-year-old self, I’d say to her that popularity isn’t everything. The ‘friends’ you have on social media, are not real friends, not really. It is better to focus on real life rather than the next big thing on Facebook. Those who are really your friends, are the ones who actually spend time with you, do things with you. They don’t just interact over a computer screen.
I now know that popularity is not the most important thing in life. The movie Not Okay has enforced that.
The movie looks at Danni Sanders, a magazine photo editor who wants to make it as a writer. She struggles with her job, having no real friends and – worst of all – no followers on Instagram. In order to impress her influencer crush, Colin, she lies about going on a writer’s retreat to Paris. In order to keep up the lie, Danni creates a fake retreat website, and posts edited photos of herself on her Instagram. Her plan unexpectedly goes belly-up when a terrorist attack takes place in Paris and she is mistakenly believed to be a survivor. Finding herself caught up in a lie, Danni gets the fame and attention that she has always craved but she soon comes to learn that notoriety comes at a terrible price.
On a side note, do you know what it took me to get to Paris for my birthday this year? I went through the channels to prove that I had been fully vaccinated, I searched and booked my flights, my accommodation, I bought my own coach tickets and I got myself to all the locations that I wanted to go to. And I documented everything I did with my camera, because I wanted to show that I travelled to Paris, all by my sweet self! I wanted to actually visit the Palace of Versailles, I did not want to just act like I was there by posting edited pictures of myself on my Instagram account. (Not that I would anyway because I’m terrible at Photoshop!)
Me actually visiting Paris for my birthday.
Watching Danni sink deeper and deeper into her lie in Not Okay, made me realise a few things about searching for fame and attention online. It’s all well and good to make up stories about yourself to try and get a bit of attention online but sooner or later, the truth always comes out. Danni learns this the hard way when she is forced to come clean about her lie and she faces online hatred and slander.
Another thing learned from Not Okay, is that fame and being admired by people who don’t really know you, is not as desirable as simply being a good person for those who actually care. Danni learns this after an uncomfortable sexual encounter with her crush Colin at a party. After leaving, she looks on her Instagram and sees her new friend Rowan playing in a softball game with her trauma support group. Seeing this gives Danni a wake-up call about the company that she keeps and she decides to join the softball game. Danni arrives in a dress and heels and is open about bring not good at sports. Despite this, she ends up having a great time and realises that there are good people out in the world.
In life, I would rather have a quiet night with my friends because I know we would have fun. I’d rather not be stuck in a large party with a thousand people who only see me as an online figure. They could look, like and admire but they’d never really want to know me. Danni comes to this conclusion at the end of the movie, as she attends an online shaming support group. She comes to the realisation that she had a much easier life being nobody than being known for her horrific lies. Sometimes, it is better to be unknown than to be hated in the world of social media.
Ten years ago, I thought that all I wanted was to be internet famous. But after watching Not Okay, I feel a lot better about being one of a million online. I would rather be a nobody with real friends than be famous and not have anybody really care about me.
Social media can have its benefits in terms of keeping memories alive. But do not focus on the amount of followers you have on your Instagram account; if you ever find yourself doing that, always ask yourself how many of them you actually interact with once you log out of your account.