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Celebrity, social media addiction, selfie-culture, and one’s true self. A French TV actress shares her awakening to the truth behind a self-absorbed social media lifestyle.





Drawing from my personal story, as a former actress, turned director and activist, I wanted to share my experience with social media. My talk explores social media conditioning, its impact on our personalities, needs, ambitions and dreams, and its long term repercussions on our society. I would love to lay out a new mindful and authentic approach to social media, allowing us to take control of these platforms and use them for social good.


My goal with the talk was to not just share my story, but to tell a necessary one as well.  I’m of the Millennial generation and like many of us, I grew up with the emergence of the

Internet, with my smartphone slowly becoming the extension of my arm. But at what cost?


Social Media was originally set up with the best of intentions and quickly turned into the largest, most powerful social conditioner. What we read, listen to and look at are now indirectly chosen for us.


How can we know our true selves, develop self love and feel supported to make our OWN choices if we are being constantly conditioned by such addictive media?

A study by the group Common Sense Media revealed that teens spend an average of 9 hours per day consuming media. Pew Research Center shows that 24% of teens go online “almost constantly.” More than 35% of teens want to be YouTubers, and most of them don’t even exactly know why. Many studies show that our current social media usage can lead to addiction, depression, self doubt, and unhappiness. Social media algorithms create echo chambers and reduce our exposure to new ideas. A survey done on 600 adults shows a third of them admit that social media makes them feel bad about themselves.


These stats are staggering, yet I was just as responsible as anyone else with my level of involvement.


With my posts and like buttons, I was taking part of a system that initially made me unfulfilled, insecure and addicted. With my tags, I was promoting companies I boycott now, and encouraging an economic system I question today.


To be clear, I’m not here to criticize the internet. It’s an incredible way to connect, to create

and advance our societies. I’m not trying to end social media usage, rather I’m aiming to initiate an individual self examination of the way we use it.


With my posts I shape your world. With your posts you shape mine. In this hyperconnected world, our digital habits have a long term impact on ourselves, our habits, our society and therefore our planet.

So, how can we use these amazing, powerful platforms to benefit the world, and avoid the negative impacts that it causes?


A French philosopher Pierre Rabhi said: “For super technologies, we need super conscience.” This may be the next big cultural challenge - Raising our consciousness to bring our humanity to the material and to bring true mindfulness, connection, and authenticity in our digital world.


We have a superpower in our hands. And now that we understand how the game works, we can play it for “good.” Promote what we truly love, what we value, what matters. We are not passive participants in this hundred billion dollar industry.


Perhaps then, when we learn to control social media, rather than it controlling us, we can help create a new world. A world where social media can be used for the beautiful.

I hope my journey from outside validation to inner meaning and self love can serve as a message that we can all reconnect to ourselves, others and our environment.


For the past 2 years I have focused on causes and productions that have a positive and constructive impact on myself, society and the environment. Through my work I am constantly questioning the conditioning of society.


I am dedicated to bringing authenticity, compassion and mindfulness to our digital world and wish to inspire us to refocus our attention from self aggrandizement and social media, and leverage its power to advance society, build communities and turn our values into actions.


With Love, Leslie





Updated: Apr 5



A survey done on 600 adults shows a third of them admit that social media makes them feel bad about themselves. Social media pushes us to idealize the lives of others and amplifies our feeling of not being enough : Not trendy enough, not young enough, not rich enough, not Zen enough, not geek enough, not cool enough, not unique enough...

For me, it has enormously decreased my confidence. I started to do things I don’t even like and wanting things that are the opposite of my values. Facebook and Instagram have been an ego booster.


The photo on the left, which I posted after the last photo shoot that I did 4 years ago, received 461 likes. This image is false. I was made up and hair dressed for more than 2 hours. My skin is retouched. I look sure of myself and sexy, but I was cold. And the only reason I did this shoot was to have a sexy photo to get me attention on Instagram.

The second is a photo that I took 6 months later. I posted it with a text that told the story of this photo. I was in Nepal with an organization. I met this man during a visit to a program against illiteracy. This man, alone, 40 years old, was at the back of the room. He got up, approached the board, and slowly began to write a word. After some time, he turned to us and said: "All my life, I felt stupid. Now I can read and write.”He was asked to write what he preferred. He looked at the word on the board and said, “I can write my name.” In 5 words, this man taught us what humility, courage and determination were.

The sexy picture received 461 likes. This post had 68 likes.


The world around us is conditioning us to assimilate success with appearance, competition, perfection and wealth to the detriment of service, cooperation, altruism, reality and meaning.



What if starting today we use social media for social good ? Let us reflect on the endless possibilities and inspiring things humans are capable of with an open heart.


Leslie

Updated: Apr 5



How many times a day do we look at our phones? I can’t even answer this question. I used to check mine around 20 times per hour! Even while walking from my toilet to my shower. What surprises me, is that my habits were unnoticed, mainly because people around me were acting the same way. According to Deloitte's 2017 global Mobile Consumer Survey, Americans look at their phones on average 52 times a day. Witch means that we check our phones on average 18,980 a year and each day 270 million Americans look at their screens about 14 billions times a day!

Now imagine, I invite my parents for dinner, and every few minutes I run outside to check the mailbox, then check my album photos, and then ask the neighbors if I received something… I’m pretty sure my parents would be concerned and ask me to consult for my obsessional behaviors. If this is not ok in real life why is it normal through a screen?


Social networks cause addictions, now we know, comparable to alcohol, tobacco or drugs. It should be addressed by government and societies the same way we face any other addictions.

Manoush Zomorodi shared during a TEDTalk that the only people who refer to their customers as "users" are drug dealers and technologists.





So this week, I invite everyone to reflect on their digital habits: When do you feel the need to check your emails, Instagram or Facebook? And when do you lose track of time? Reflect on the craving you experienced before you opened the apps and the feelings that came up right after you used them. Do you feel better, worse, agitated, stressed, anxious, insecure, judgmental, relieved, peacefulness, calm, focused...? Which post, interaction or email triggered these feelings?

Taking the time to observe my habits and emotions helped me understand my needs, my vulnerability, and my addiction.




Creating a healthy relationship with our smartphones and social media is a long challenging process. But we don't have to disconnect completely and burn our phones.

We can find balance if we put into place a couple of new habits :


- Disconnect as much as possible and impose precise schedules to check our emails and social media.

- Avoid at all costs to check our phone, emails, news, or social networks upon waking up because it increases our impression of missing out. Unconsciously, we think we have missed things during the night. So we feel the need to check everything.

- Turn off our phone when meeting with our friends.

- Keep our phone outside of our bedroom.

- Leave our phone at home once in a while when we spend time outdoors.


Time is precious and it is OURS.

No screen or app should take it away from us.


Leslie


Watch Manoush Zomorodi's TEDTalk :


Social media can cause addiction. If you are with your loved ones or outdoors, these moments are precious. Turn off your phone and discover our social media later during your digital curated time :)

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