Tag Archives: Instagram

Self-improvement lesson 6. Nobody knows what they’re doing all the time

It’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and feel down because their life is perfect while yours is far from it. And social media is very much building up under the idea of everyone having a good time. But that’s in a way also the beauty of social media. You can edit and filter until your life looks enviable even to yourself.

 

If the world population would be charged with lying on social media, I guess at least 90% of us would be found guilty. And the truth is, when you sit there and edit a photo or think of a status to sum up a version of your life you want other people to see, there are millions around the world who do the same.

 

It may look like the next person has it all. A good job, a nice house and a perfect family. But behind the carefully constructed facade, there might be hiding some ugly ghosts, or at least some frustrations and insecurities.

 

And it’s good to know that we’re not alone. Nobody knows what they’re doing all the time, or have a secure future. We all have days; weeks and even months when we feel lost and like the world is working against us. And if that’s how you feel, my best advice is to stay away from social media as much as possible and even withdraw yourself a little from people who intimidate you until you feel able to cope with them again.

 

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other people and beat yourself up over not having gone as far as them. But you don’t know their struggle to get where they are, or even if everything they’re posting is real. The worst thing I can do when I’m down, is to go on Twitter and check the updates of artists I feel I can compare myself too. Their amount of followers and radio plays just end up depressing me. But when I’ve stayed away, lived a rich offline life and feel confident that I’m doing everything I can to progress at that moment, I can manage to feel happy for them and what they’ve achieved, knowing it will be me one day as long as I stay consistent.

 

So next time you feel you’ve not got your shit together and that everyone else is doing way better than you, remember that those people probably have the same feelings about other people and maybe about you. And take a timeout and do something that makes you happy.

I love you Facebook! Thanks for including me by adding image recognition software!

Today I’m so excited it’s ridiculous. Because today, I am one big step closer to being fully included in the full Facebook experience.

 

I loved Facebook in its infancy. All statuses were chronological and even though there were photos, they didn’t clog up my newsfeed to the point where I felt more frustrated than informed. Then, things started changing. And by 2011, I was seriously sick of Facebook because I could no longer choose not to get photos in my newsfeed on a permanent basis. I don’t know if people also started to post more photos, but to me they seemed to increase.

 

Eventually, I learned to live with it. I’m a minority group and accept that most people cherish photos. It’s not that I don’t, but I much prefer a video with good audio or just audio because it’s the best way for me to relive saved memories.

 

But captions on photos help a lot. They don’t have to be longwinded, but something like “My cat fell asleep on my newly ironed work suit” is enough for me to understand and click like.

 

But not everyone writes good captions all the time. Even I am guilty of this. See, I’m conforming to the majority, so I was excited when I heard that soon, Facebook would have recognition software that could describe photos for blind people.

 

And today, it has finally happened. I was browsing through my newsfeed as usual when I heard Voiceover on my iPhone read out a description of a photo someone had published. I couldn’t believe it at first, so I kept scrolling. And sure enough, there were more image descriptions.

 

The biggest smile you can imagine crossed my face and I did a little dance, in my feverish flue state.

 

The image recognition today is very basic and will only describe in general terms. “This image may contain one person and tree outdoors.” An Interview with the blind engineer, I think his name is Matt King, who is the main man behind this great development said that it could potentially recognize a lot more, but that it would take some more testing and developing before it’s possible to get more detailed descriptions. He added that some are raising concerns about data protection safety. But as he pointed out, we only want the data that’s already there.

 

I hope that soon I’ll be able to hear descriptions like “Jane and John at outside table drinking coke,” but for now I am happy. Because this is an extremely important step towards including blind people into the vast visual world of social media. I already feel more included and I can’t wait till this feature also comes to Instagram. And perhaps Twitter soon will see the sense to not just to rely on users writing good captions for their images. Captions are not dead though. Because even though it’s possible to see an image, or hear it, a caption can still tell a good story.

 

Well, that’s me off to look at some more Facebook photos. Laters! Xx

I hate being blind when…..

I usually don’t have an issue with being blind. In fact, I have addressed all the perks about being blind
previously on the blog.

The Nigerian producer, singer and songwriter
Cobhams Asuquo
held a talk once about
The gift of blindness
And I don’t disagree with him. In fact, I share all his sentiments on blindness and sight. I think being blind has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and has forced me to work hard to achieve things I wouldn’t necessarily have strived for had I been able to see. I would even go as far as to say that I am a lot more independent than some sighted people because pride has made me find solutions to everyday problems that I perhaps wouldn’t have felt so bad at asking to get help with had I been able to see.

But we all have bad days or moments when everything just seems impossible. After all, we’re human. I hate being blind, or as a friend like to call it, extremely short sighted, in those moments, because I get reminded of physical limits I don’t think I should have. But it’s ok to be angry sometimes and acknowledge the difficulties, just as long as it doesn’t become a habit and you wallow in self-pity every day.

Be assured that the following list isn’t talking about things I face every day, or things that always make me feel bad when I do face them.

• I hate being blind when websites or pieces of technology I need to use right there and then doesn’t work with JAWS or voiceover and I need to get a sighted person to help me.
• I hate being blind when people talk to me as if I’m a mental retard.
• I hate being blind when religious nutters offer to pray for me. Indirectly they’re saying I’m not good enough for neither God nor humans the way I am and I need upgrading. At least that’s how I perceive it even though they probably just want what they think is best for me…
• I hate being blind when my normal routes are being dug up and I get lost because I don’t understand how to take another way around to get where I need to go.
• I hate being blind when my friends are posting photos on Facebook that I don’t understand, the content of not even from the comments section. I miss the old days when Facebook had more text. That isn’t to say I need everyone to always describe photos in-depth, or stop posting photos altogether in solidarity with me. And I do sometimes click like if I can discern what the photo might show. But I do feel a little excluded at times
• I hate being blind when confronted with Instagram or snapchat. Sighted friends tell me it’s no big deal and that I’m not missing out. Wrong. I am, because it’s a world I can’t take part in. at least not on an equal footing with the sighted.
• I hate being blind when I can’t see my own music videos and album covers.
• I hate being blind when the bank send me snail mail and have no option to send Braille mail.
• I hate being blind when I don’t have the mental energy to find the way to somewhere I’ve never been before by public transport or walking and end up taking a taxi.
• I hate being blind when I can’t assess my own makeup and oversee the work of new makeup artists.
• I hate being blind when I’m faced with bad attitudes that prevent me from getting hired for a job.
• I hate being blind because society is made for sighted, able bodied people. And if it had always been built with all kinds of censory and physical challenges in mind, then disabled people would arguably not have been disabled. Or at least a lot closer to being able bodied.


Of course, we can start eliminating disability by changing attitudes. That goes for both abled and disabled people. But that’s a topic for another post.