I think it was during the MySpace era when I first came across #blessed. Back then, it was a feature, an option out of a compendium of moods you could put on your profile to show how you felt at the moment. I was low-key stalking Ryan Higa, the big YouTube star, who was “feeling blessed” at the moment.
Fast-forward to now, and what was then part of a nondescript arsenal of moods has turned into a social media phenomenon. You can find it plastered on Instagram posts of food and travel shots, on Facebook statuses and Tweets boasting of a brand new purchase or life event. Almost as if being #blessed was equivalent to wearing a Rolex or owning a Ferrari — a symbol that you were enjoying the best things that life has to offer.
That being said, it isn’t hard to see why #blessed has been a target of mixed reactions. For some, it may just be another way of communicating one’s self over the noise of the interwebs. For others, it may seem like a way for certain people to shove how good they’re having it in their faces.
While it’s easy to dismiss the #blessed phenomenon as another social nuisance, there might be more to it than meets the eye.
Search the hashtag on Twitter and you’ll be bombarded with an assortment of posts celebrating births, wins, food, people and special events. Search Instagram and you have pictures of family occasions, food and people. You can’t help but ask yourself — why do people use #blessed in the first place? And what constitutes a #blessed post?
Simply put, people use #blessed for the things they feel blessed about. But then again, anything that has to do with social media isn’t as simple as it seems.
It’s been said time and time again that this two-way innovation has turned into an extension of our own lives; mimicking a lot of the processes we do in our day-to-day living through a network of information technology. And when you have something like that on your hands, it’s an easy ticket into the real-world psyche of its inhabitants. When something like #blessed turns into a trending tag, you have to wonder why people are obsessed with making the things they’re thankful for known to the public.
They say we live in an era of uncertainty, one that’s fast-paced economically and possibly heading nowhere. You’ve got people going global, with no longer any excuse for excluding other countries, because with our degree of interconnectedness, we’ve come to realize that whatever sh*t happens to one nation affects the rest of the planet.
And like any codependent relationship, that can be scary. You’ve got relatives abroad and suddenly you’re hearing news of airplanes being gunned down and terrorists on the loose. You’re having your next plate of extra rice and hear that there might be a shortage because delivery ports have been congested. You’re enjoying your job until you hear news that people are getting laid off because the company’s losing profits.
With that amount of uncontrollable volatility, it can be hard to see the brighter side of things when you aren’t sure if such a thing exists at all.
If there’s anything #blessed can show us, perhaps it’s this: in an age where everything seems to fly by, we often look to things we can latch onto. It could be that special moment during a family reunion. Or that sweet pair of Christmas kicks you weren’t expecting to receive. Unlike real life, everything seems to be immortalized once you put it up online — compartmentalized into neat little hashtags you can revisit from time to time.
And that’s not a bad thing. If anything, this shows that we still haven’t let go of our human essence — to give gratitude, to celebrate, to cherish. God knows what would happen if we’ve forgotten how to do that.