We live our lives online. Not too much seems to be off limits. But don’t be too real. Earlier this month, Stina Sanders, model, and blogger posted a photo of her defuzzing her upper lip and lost thousands of followers on Instagram according to Huffington Post. Internet famous model Essena O’Neill quit social media after becoming distressed over promoting a false life of perfection, which made the news. For some, purporting an illusion to garner likes and followers is the new way to get famous and validation.
Social media is supposed to make us more open and connected. With such a huge user base (click here for the facts), there can be complications. Psychologists warn that frequent social media use can cause depression among a myriad of other unhealthy behaviors.
Now there is a film that presents these issues about compulsively being online. A Social Life is the story of Meredith, a career focused woman who is obsessed with keeping up an active social media profile. She seeks to live a balanced life by staying fit, working hard and connecting with friends. Sharing these moments online is a crucial part of her daily life. She is creating an “image” within her broader social media friend base. Meredith awakens one day and realizes that her reflection is merely the collection of photos that she shared with others.
The writer, director is Kerith Lemon is an award-winning creative executive with over thirteen years of entertainment experience. A former VP, Digital Video Strategy, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and MTV Networks executive (CBS Radio, The N and MTV Games), she was responsible for the creative development of entertainment projects across multi-media platforms, including film, television, live broadcast, special events and social media. Her extensive background in non-traditional marketing and production has been recognized with an Imagen Award Best Web Series (Nomination), NAMIC Vision Award for Digital (Nomination), Jack Meyer Media Innovation & Creativity Award (Gold Winner), and the PMA Reggie for Outstanding Digital Promotion (Gold Winner). She has produced two independent feature films, It’s Not You, It’s Me (Independent) and Blaze You Out (Lionsgate/Grindstone) and directed her short film A Social Life.
Most recently, Kerith Lemon helped bring Oprah Winfrey’s vision of reaching viewers wherever they are one step closer to reality with the launch of the digital original division within OWN Digital. She created and directed three original digital series for the network #OWNShow (daily lifestyle), Who Am I (celebrity interviews), and Harvest Day (food) as well as curated a slate of development projects set to be announced and launched 2015 – 2016.
I spoke with her before the holiday rush.
L’Etage: What clicked in you to decide to make this film?
KERITH: Over the last couple years I started to notice that felt disconnected to friends even though I was “connected” to more friends than ever online. It was strange to me that conversations in the real world were beginning with “I saw on social media that you’re engaged… have a new job… are really busy” and less and less often those conversations included questions about how I was feeling or what else I had going on. I felt endlessly connected to my device and even noticed that I would feel jealous when I saw other “friends” posting things that I wished I was doing, taking a hike, working on a great project, being with family. With nearly 3/4 of the United States on social media, I thought surely other people must be feeling this way. I wanted to start that conversation in a creative meaningful way.
L’Etage: What do you want the results to be?
KERITH: I’d like to start with more awareness that social media isn’t real life. The nature of social media is to show only a slice of our lives and a photo can easily crop out the true reality, or any messiness in our lives. And then I’d like especially women to stop comparing themselves to others. None of us are as perfect as our social feeds might look.
Social media is a beautiful tool for sharing and connecting, I’m not advocating that we stop using, but in person, let’s be more present. Let’s find the balance between “sharing what you are doing” to “doing things for the sake of sharing.”
L’Etage: Where can people see it?
KERITH: The film is making its way through the festival circuit, we post upcoming screenings on our facebook.com/asociallifefilm (I know ironic, social media to promote a social media film) and then we plan to release the film online early next year!
A Social Life is screening on December 10th in the shorts lineup at the Monarch Film Festival in Pacific Grove. See: http://www.monarchfilmfestival.com/a-social-life
Watch the trailer: