YOU. ACCORDING TO SOCIAL MEDIA.

Who are you, digitally?

We present ourselves differently on every social media platform – they highlight another feature of our life and character. Each platform has its own rules and norms we adjust and comply to – to their stars, topics and dynamics. It is fascinating how different kinds of people flourish and become influential on each platform. People with seemingly interesting lives will float Facebook, if words are your strength you’d go for Twitter and Instagram is for the visually talented amongst us who look at life not in words but through images.

We all behave (even if only slightly) differently, depending on where we are. However, the spaces on the internet – unlike the different spaces we act in real life – are not autarkic, they interact and can be viewed simultaneously. Are we coherent in who we present to be on the Internet? Do we take this into consideration when (inter)acting?

Sometimes, when we become aware of this, we censor ourselves. We reduce ourselves to our common denominator to hide those opinions and perspectives of our life that would be conflicting with certain circles of friends, groups or audiences – fearing their judgement, disagreement, disapproval and maybe even arguments. But more often than not, we reveal more than we normally would, falsely imagining to be speaking to a private audience. It is like shouting through a bullhorn on stage at a crowded stadium and misbelieving no one would hear us, except for the five people in the front row who are applauding you.

We know more about each other than we want to. This, however, we only realise when we actually meet. Have you ever met in real life a person you were “friends” with online and had to pretend not to know what that person did last week because you weren’t really “friends”? Not to know that he/she had just split up, lost his/her grandmother, went on a vacation in X and finally found a job? If you have experienced a similar situation, you know the awkward feeling I’m talking about. The moment you meet that person, it feels so wrong to know so much.

I felt very alienated from Facebook for a long time, as the amount of information some people were posting was overwhelming and they gradually occupied more and more space on my timeline and consequently in my life and privacy. People who I wouldn’t meet up with in real life. It was, as if Facebook was forcing people into my life. Those on the other hand who mattered to me ended up being quite and sometimes even invisible. As I was yearning their presence in my life, e-mails and phone conversations grew to be more important.

Twitter serves as my daily newspaper, the platform I use most actively. The fact that you are not – at least in theory – limited to friends and acquaintances in your conversations but could address anyone who is on the platform and engage in a discussion, is unique. It is always fascinating to watch how people come together and leave through conversations – those who would’ve never met otherwise (speaking of social bubbles).

Instagram - to me – is a creative space that challenges me to look at life from a visual angle. I love sharing stories, but I usually change names and places to keep people anonymous. How can I continue telling stories? I’m still figuring that out. How can words become images?  I think I’ve found my personal answer. The 50 thoughts project has turned into a playful way to combine both visuality, thoughts and texts into one piece: Adding another layer of meaning to your words through the way you choose to place them on a sheet of paper. I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with this.

But the 50 thoughts project has also turned into a wonderful opportunity for me to leave my self-constructed boxes about what I am legitimised to speak and write about and what not. I love the freedom it unintentionally gives: I have a space to fill. Every single week. One thought I can share. This project has allowed me to communicate myself differently and made me more conscious about how I let myself be defined in the digital space.

As I observe my presences and actions on different platforms, as I observe the actions of others, I discover a world in which we tell different stories of who we consider we are, slowly uncovering ourselves, standing in front of each other – naked and vulnerable. Almost as if we were waiting for a little child to wake us up and scream ”But they aren’t wearing anything at all!”

But we will not stop any time soon, I guess.

#14 JOY | 50

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And you are humbled by the gratitude you are granted to feel deep in your heart.

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This is for a number of dear friends who allow me to be part of their pursuit and journeys. I am grateful for every second they share with me. I hope to be there for them in their darkest and brightest moments. I am not with my friends every day. I am not with them every week. Sometimes not for months, sometimes not for a year. But they know and I know, this is only a physical description of our reality. Thank you.

One thought every Friday for a year #14 | 50

#13 DARKNESS | 50

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Is it a coincidence that this text turned out to be the darkest so far?
But we can read it. It is bright enough…

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I could’ve named this one hope. I could have named this one curiosity.
But I think it is a task. To try and understand even those who do not seem to carry anything worth understanding and searching for. Whose actions we despise, whose gaze spread darkness.
What do you know about the light, if you do not know the darkness?
And when did we start believing, it was us who lived in the light?

One thought every Friday for a year #13 | 50

#12 COMPETITION | 50

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetLast week, I thought about those things that keep us away from being who we are, changing the world for the better and living the way we dream. Sometimes, I believe, it is the occupation with others and the greed for appreciation. The applause seems to be more important, than the satisfaction our life and deeds themselves can serve us. We seek satisfaction in the eyes of others, when the only satisfaction will be – for a believer – in seeking His.

None of us live the lives we pretend to have. None of us are what we filter to the outside world. We have flaws & mistakes, we are wrong & dumb, we are ugly but perfectly unique. We like our online selves more than our real selves, invest our time, energy and resources into our digital self – a self in constant contrast to our real selves – a constant source of our deepest unhappiness.

And we compete. Compete for the appreciation in peoples’ eyes. It is sick. It is our lack of community sense, lack of care and love for each other. I wonder, when have we stopped finding joy in the happiness of others?

Just the tiniest sense of competition makes it hard for me to breathe. Every bit of me wants to run away, escape the competition – yet the world seems so small. I fear adapting to competition, I fear getting used to it, I fear changing my intentions, my aims, my journey. I fear the erosion of my deeds. Hence I stop. Stop doing, fearing the intention of my acts. Stop speaking, fearing the aim of my words. Stop breathing, fearing the journey of my life.

A friend recently quoted Erica Cook: “I’m not interested in competition. I hope we all can make it.”

I hope we realise that we all make it, every day, constantly. Because success lies within the journey, whether or not it is being appreciated, acknowledged or applauded.

One thought every Friday for a year #12 | 50

MUSLIMISCHE KÜNSTLERINNEN IN DEUTSCHLAND | ZEIT CAMPUS #3

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In der aktuellen Zeit Campus (#3 | 2014 – seit heute im Handel) findet ihr eine Reihe muslimischer Künstlerinnen in Deutschland. Wunderbare Damen wie Neslihan Kapucu, Tasnim Baghdadi, Seren Başoğul, Soufeina Hamed und Ayşe Kılıç - sie alle sind Zeichen eines Wandels in Deutschland, symbolisch stehen sie für Umbrüche und neue Herausforderungen und prägen einen neuen Zeitgeist. Sie sind durch ihr Kopftuch als Muslima sichtbar, gleichzeitig drängen sie aber mit ihrer Identität als Künstlerin in die Öffentlichkeit. Mancherorts scheint das zu irritieren – aber nicht mehr lange. Wer, wie und auch warum ich mit dem Text haderte findet ihr im Heft.

#10 DAS GUTE | 50

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The last couple of weeks have been intense, I was working a lot and did not have time to write my thoughts down on the typewriter, they were left in my notebook. Finally, this week, I will be uploading three thoughts.

Thought #10 is about kindness. I used to decide if someone was good and kind based on how that person treated me. But with years I realised, that it was more important how they treated others, the weak, the poor, the overseen, the ignored and unheard.

What am I ought to do with the praise, the kindness and smile of the tormenter of others?

/ Die letzten Wochen waren sehr anstrengend. Ich fand nicht einmal Zeit die wöchentlichen Gedanken auf der Schreibmaschine abzutippen, sie warteten geduldig in meinem Notizbuch. Diese Woche hatte ich nun endlich Gelegenheit und werde drei Gedanken veröffentlichen.

Gedanke #10 handelt vom Guten im Menschen. Mit den Jahren traf ich Menschen, die gut, zuvorkommend und freundlich zu mir waren, aber arrogant, erniedrigend und verletzend zu anderen. Was soll ich, fragte ich mich, mit dem Lob eines Peinigers? Sei er noch so nett, so lieb, so freundlich, so zuvorkommend zu mir – misst sich der Wert eines Menschen nicht an jenen, die er am wenigsten wertschätzt? Wie behandelt er Arme, Schwache, Unsichtbare, Überhörte, Verachtete?

Und dann fragte ich mich: Sind nicht wir alle irgendwie, irgendwo Peiniger anderer Menschen? Auf der Suche nach dem Guten in anderen, sollten wir nicht zuerst das Gute in uns suchen? Wir alle kennen uns, das Gute in uns, vertrauen darauf. Wir kennen unsere Intentionen, ruhen uns auf ihnen aus. Doch prüfen wir uns auch in den Momenten, in denen es am unwichtigsten und nebensächlichsten erscheint?

One thought every Friday for a year #10 | 50