Lorde: Social media is one of the things ‘making us sick as a society’

Lorde Vogue

All year, I’ve been halfway expecting Adele or Rihanna to appear on some major magazine cover and suddenly announce that their new album is done and ready to drop. That hasn’t happened… so far. Instead, we’ve got Lorde on the October cover of Vogue. She’s promoting her new album Solar Power, which she announced at the beginning of the summer in a conventional album-announcement kind of way. Lorde is not reinventing the wheel, she is just an offbeat part of the wheel and that’s all fine with her. I like that she’s found a way to be authentic to her outsider roots while still embracing parts of celebrity, and giving herself the space to grow, change and mature from the 16 year old goth youth who seemed uncomfortable with the trappings. You can read the full Vogue piece here. Some highlights:

She’s not built for pop star life: “I’m great at my job, but I’m not sure I’m the man for the job. I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m not built for pop star life. To have a public-facing existence is something I find really intense and is something I’m not good at. That natural charisma is not what I have. I have the brain in the jar.”

Her Melodrama pattern: “California was a Cadillac Escalade. All these beautiful young people drinking all this tequila. Then I’d come home to Auckland for two weeks and have a massive blowout party at my house, and have some romantic entanglement happening that was very compelling and confusing, and then sort of leave in a cloud of smoke and go and write about that, then repeat the process.”

She left social media in 2018: “I could sense that it would be very bad for the work and for me if I stayed online. I don’t think I’ve met too many people for whom social media is a net positive. It’s producing crazy chemicals, forming crazy neural pathways that are not rooted in positivity. You don’t want to be the person shaking their finger, and I’m totally aware that it’s an immense privilege, a social privilege and kind of an economic privilege to be able to abstain. But I think we’ve got to be upfront about the things that are making us sick as a society.”

She’s really off-off social media: “I’m not, like, lurking on a Finsta. I’m really off. I think I was known for having my finger on the pulse, so it was actually a huge decision philosophically for me to step back from that. But I started to see the phone as a portal. I can’t keep going through that portal, in the same way that I wouldn’t just take mushrooms all these moments of a day. It’s too deep a tunnel.”

Her alleged long-term relationship with Justin Warren: “I love when all famous people can say is, ‘I’m very happy.’  You can write that she’s very happy. Healthy boundaries.”

On fashion: “I can register fashion as both beautiful and absurd. I do remember that visceral moment”—at the Met gala in 2015—“of thinking, A pharaoh is lying right there, and we’re in couture. But I kind of love it. There’s tons to be gotten from all of it.”

She’s more comfortable putting her body out there: “When I said I felt young for the first time—it meant feeling like I’m confident enough to put my butt out there. I wouldn’t have been able to do that as a teenager. When you’re really famous as a young person, feelings get magnified. At that time, people were discussing my body on Twitter, and the natural response was to shrink away from it. Now I have a sense of my worth and my power, and my body is—awesome, for one thing.”

[From Vogue]

I enjoy how casually she takes all of this. I mean, she’s a big deal, the prototype for the current era of Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, the teenage-girl-with-feelings. But Lorde is also the prototype for outgrowing that image and giving herself the space to develop into something else. I’ve seen the reviews complaining about Solar Power, that it’s not as good as Pure Heroine or Melodrama, but I think all of this is a great sign for her career: she’s clearly doing what she wants, she’s in control of herself, her image and her sound, she writes what she wants and she’s fine if you don’t like it too. She’s not trying to act cool – she is cool because she’s indifferent to the daily pop-music wranglings and drama.

Cover & IGs courtesy of Vogue.

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36 Responses to “Lorde: Social media is one of the things ‘making us sick as a society’”

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  1. VS says:

    She is right…..I started a discussion a few months ago on what’s the right way to correct social media!!! I can’t believe the way we are going about it right now is sustainable….

    • LUPEBS says:

      @vs where was the conversation? I’m curious what people had to say. Please elaborate!

      • VS says:

        I am trying to remember the thread but still looking…..I was in favor of dropping anonymity except in certain countries with brutal governments but CBers pushed against that with good points around people not being able to freely express themselves even on CB if no anonymity…..

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      I remember that! It must have been earlier this summer. I can’t remember what article is was under. I do think a lot would change for the better of people were publicly accountable for their comments, but we also need a way to say things were afraid to say to our government and probably even bullies for kids. But there has to be a way to do it responsibly.

  2. Leonelda says:

    She is quite cool and Solar Power was a great song. I have taken several “Insta fasts” months at a time. It’s the only social media platform I have at the moment. I always feel better when I fast but do sometimes miss connecting with my friends and seeing this pics. I always end up re-downloading but as soon as I feel like I’m mindlessly scrolling or pulling it up too much I fast again. I just wish the explore page and “suggested reels” were not a thing. Just want to follow inspiring people and my friends. I can’t wait to hear everyone else’s thoughts.

  3. Dana says:

    I installed my Instagram a few weeks ago. I was planning on taking a week break at the time to see how I felt. The only thing I miss a bit is seeing posts from a few shopping sites I like. I expected to miss the things to do where I live, restaurants, people I’ve connected with through Instagram but I don’t. The most interesting one to me was not missing the people because it really drove home the point to me how the internet isn’t “real life”.

    • MaryContrary says:

      I got rid of IG last winter-I could not handle seeing so many people out and recklessly about during Covid. There have been a few things I miss, but overall no. And I disabled FB 2-3 years ago-don’t miss that toxic mess at all.

    • helonearth says:

      I have pared back who/what I follow and that has stopped me checking in too often and getting lost for an hour – it was getting a bit ridiculous! I also only follow people I know, as in I have met them in person, and this has made a big difference. At the moment I am really only interested in seeing any shopping deals/discounts.

  4. Jan90067 says:

    Just an FYI, since Adele was mentioned, but I’ve read that her label wants her album to drop this Nov. (like 25) did, and it’d be “introduced” by a TV concert (again, like they did with her last concert) taped in Vegas.

    There’s also been talk that she’d be interested in a Vegas Residency, since she’s said to *hate* touring. I’m not quite ready to go to an indoor concert *yet*, but damn if I wouldn’t go next Spring if things get better!

  5. ReginaGeorge says:

    She’s right. Social media is not good for the psyche in large doses. Which is what we do when we’re on it all day every day. There are now terms coined “Snapchat Dysmorhia” and “Instagram Face” that are really affecting the self esteems of women and especially young girls and feeding their insecurity that they don’t look the same. It’s also apparently makes people more depressed. All you see on social media are people’s best, happiest moments in general. And a bunch of people use it to “stunt” or brag about their lives and material possessions, leading others to feel “less than” It’s like being in HS all over again but 24/7 with no breaks. And don’t dare have a different opinion than someone for even the mist insignificant stuff. That just leads to an avalanche of comments on why you are wrong or stupid or whatever lol. Its all pretty depressing and negatively impacts your mood. I myself have had to take long breaks from. social media and have unfollowed A LOT of people. Nowadays, I stick to cute animal profiles stored I shop,, some restaurants and shows that I watch, along with just close friends friends.

    • Lyds says:

      I was in college when Facebook launched (dating myself majorly, I know) and was in the middle of filling out a profile when I saw the BS that college kids were posting on this free, .edu/for-Bostonians-only site, back when you could view everyone’s profile and privacy settings were not a thing. Let’s just say, it instantly made me hate and avoid certain people and I just couldn’t decide which movies I loved the most and wanted to be defined by, so I never completed that profile and went on to live a happy and private life in the subsequent 17 years.

      I think knowing yourself and being in tune with your feelings is huge. I knew that it was not natural for me to post about myself, so broadcasting my life to all the people within my circle was out. Also, I am someone who likes the past to remain in the past, and the idea that people could be lurking in the dark webs (exes especially, ugh!), ready to send you a message out of the woodwork, was akin to a personal hell waiting to erupt. I loved doing my own thing and living life the way I wanted to without “answering” to a social media account. After hard news, I love spending free time on, first Gawker, and now CB, and just reading whatever it was that interested me over scrolling through the potentially mundane lives of acquaintances who believed their trite musings deserved eyeballs. I had a sinking feeling and fear that I would resent even my best friends, if I “met” them on social media; I like how you present yourself to me in person and the stories you readily tell, not the news broadcaster/sales person pitch you tell the world. I am not your audience, I don’t buy what you’re selling.

      For the people who connect, thrive and succeed on social media, I applaud you and am in awe of you. I just know I could never do it—it is simply not in my wheelhouse. Watching LuLaRich made me realize just how thankful I am to my young self in that college dorm, despite peer pressure from friends, for deleting that FB profile tab and never looking back.

  6. Jules says:

    That’s what I’m talking about. From photoshopped faces and bodies that are unrecognizable, to trolls stalking you in the comments…. A lot of mental instability leading to more instability. And the research proves it.

  7. psl says:

    I mostly follow dogs and women who stopped dyeing their hair, so Instagram is a positive place for me. But I can see how harmful it is, especially all the Influencers and celebrities filtering and photoshopping themselves into non-humans.

    • SarahCS says:

      I agree, I follow cats and travel mostly plus a couple of people I know but for specific reasons like a woman I was at school with who now keeps chickens! I love it.

    • Nicole says:

      Same! I follow bookstagram, rv renovations, and cooking. I rarely see any posts from friends anymore. I just got so tired of them last year.

    • Desdemona says:

      I only follow cooking, Calvin and Hobbes, National Geographic, arts and things like that on social media… And my friends who also post funny things…

  8. Wilma says:

    I only have Instagram and only follow people with the same hobby as I have. This way it’s a fun way of engaging with something I love doing but don’t have time to do all of the time.

  9. FHMom says:

    I like the photos and interview. And she is absolutely correct about social media, especially for young people. I’m old and only check FB to learn what is going on in my town. I follow mom and parent groups. Unfortunately, it only confirms my feelings that my town is full of conservative, hateful people. It’s alarming to read what adults will fight about without realizing how awful they appear to be. Eye opening, really.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      That last half- so true. The lovely Why Can’t We Call Them This & Blame Those 4 That No More’s of the world. They’re definitely an example of the dark side of social media, and confirmed dicktims too. You’d think that halfway+ through life, people would actually be above that, but nope. They can harass targets with racist, misogynistic, or homophobic insults for months or even a year. No arrests, fines, or any other kind of consequence, but that’s still not enough for them. The second their targets open their mouths, the instigators will act like something bad is being done to them. It’s not just conservatives, but they’re definitely the ringleaders.
      On top of that are all these scary hate movements telling people- especially young boys and men- that they’re being robbed of the traditional world they’re owed because women, gay, people, etc. “have gotten out of control”. While it’s ultimately up to individuals not to embrace crap like that, you can also see people’s real life role models not taking their responsibility to steer people away from hate seriously too. Online and off. Social media has positives, but it can be good to take breaks.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I think that social media has become a vile platform. It’s due to those who wish to cause the greatest harm and to act under the radar for the purpose to attack and utilize it for the worst types of people or reasons. I have to keep myself in a place that I see these nefarious people and their hatred and it deeply affects me. I don’t think people should be able to attack and create platforms to create groups that want to cause harm. I think that these types of groups should be shut down and held accountable for their actions. I think that social media has too much power and influence. I think it’s detrimental to the well being and the lives of everyone. I dumped FB years ago, and I do look at IG, but only sparingly. I mostly read the news and keep up with my emails. As a boomer, I grew up without it and can live without it as well. Though, I am on CB pretty much everyday, I have to have some pleasure!!

  10. FrodoOrOdo says:

    I don’t like how we discuss social media as one thing.

    It absolutely can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. It’s also been damaging to public health, politics, election integrity, etc.

    But it’s been a great resource and/or entry point for awareness about a number of issues. I love seeing underserved/minority representation. I really don’t see a lot of Black/Native/Asian culture outside of social media. Social media has also been a huge part of me learning not just about my ADHD but about neurodivergence, disability awareness, and the “smaller” politics of homelessness, living with disabilities, the struggles people gp through to navigate the world with disabilities or as a minority culture that isn’t mine.

    This also doesn’t touch the ways in which social media can help people find people whose interests align with their own, particularly when those interests are the ones reflected in regular media. Most of us don’t have a lot of time for in person friendships, even with local friends. We all work too much, maintaining a home sucks up space, etc. Connecting with others going through something similar can be a lifeline.

    That being said, you have to be careful to balance it all, and step away when the cons outweigh the pros.

    • remarks says:

      I think social media can be helpful. But I think you have to be the type of person who knows how to make it useful to yourself. I think as time goes on, (young) people will probably learn how to self-regulate themselves with social media.

      I’ve learned how to negotiate my time with social media. I don’t necessarily communicate on it all the time. And I don’t even really feel I need to have it. But I feel I do have to make a strong effort to not accidentally fall down a rabbit hole and simply “surf” and waste time on reels and videos or whatever else if I have a random moment of weakness when I’m distracted, which could potentially happen at any time. There is an addictive quality to the technology, even when I’m not actually posting pictures or captions myself. I think social media, and the internet in general, requires personal discipline. But since we’re all required to be on the internet in some capacity, such as for work, research or networking, it’s hard to exercise that muscle sometimes.

  11. Size Does Matter says:

    I can’t believe how much what she said about the phone being a portal resonated with me, and I don’t just mean social media. It’s easier to live in whatever alternate reality you choose online than in the real one happening at home.

  12. stagaroni says:

    Algorithms are skewing what people see, and until this is addressed, social media will continue driving content that is affecting how people view reality. The companies that host these algorithms need to be held accountable for any lies and propaganda the perpetuate. No one should be making money by knowingly spreading disinformation and chaos.

  13. canichangemyname says:

    I love everything she says here – she’s really level-headed. My 13 yo son’s a big fan and I am as well. I keep my SM to Facebook and occasionally Twitter, but I’m really glad it wasn’t around when I was younger. I don’t think it would’ve been good for my head. As a 45 yo, I just use it for joking with my friends and keeping tabs on my people .

  14. Sof says:

    I don’t agree when people make generalizations about social media, positive or negative. You can 100% have a healthy approach to social media as long as you are aware of your interests and what purpose you’ll be giving to it. If you are in constant need of validation then it can be really dangerous for your mental health. It depends on the person really.
    And the divice too. Guys, if you are feeling down or are worried about a teenager or young person in your life who think instagram’s “perfect faces/lives” are real, I recomend logging in on a computer. Filters and photoshop are really obvious when you open Instagram on your computer vs. on your phone.

    • remarks says:

      I think one can have a healthy approach to social media.

      But if you’re someone who has to work creatively and get a lot of things done within a time driven deadline like Lorde does, I can see why she might not like it much for herself. I suspect it’s the addictive aspect of social media some people don’t like.

  15. Me says:

    taco fairy: when the kids take themselves way too sewiously

  16. Meg says:

    Think of the kids without support at home or in school counting down the days to leave who get that from online support groups ? If they’re in a small town/school and they’re the only LGBTQ kid for example, a social group online can help a lot.
    There’s obviously bullying online but I’ve only followed pages that dispute diet culture & that show different women’s body sizes so I’m not just scrolling through the same unrealistic same body type Ive seen nearly all my life up until now that taught me to hate my body. For me it been amazing to know I’m not alone because of the support groups I’ve found and my relationship with my body has greatly improved

  17. Otaku fairy says:

    ” I wouldn’t have been able to do that as a teenager.” This doesn’t even have to involve butts to be true- it’s true with any article of clothing that’s even a little less modest than someone else thinks it should be. It could have been jeans and a t-shirt that cover everything but if a little bit of bra strap was peaking out, or horror of horrors, no bra at all underneath? Victim-blamers on both sides would have been all over her at 17 with the excuse of, “shE’s uh MY-nor, therefore I get to be belligerent and abusive about what other people’s daughters are doing with their bodies!” What young women aren’t always told is that it’ll be just as bad long after 18. It does seem like people are being a little more tolerant of Lorde changing her mind a little about modesty than they are about Billie Eilish though.

  18. Jen says:

    I totally agree with her, though a lot of it comes down to personality. I think there are people out there who can have a social media account and not even think about it for weeks. I could not have a Facebook account without being obsessed by it and checking it constantly. I would post funny quips or anecdotes and then feel extremely validated by the likes and comments. I could really feel myself actively attention seeking. I had three successive Facebook accounts over ten years, deleted the first two but kept getting major FOMO and making new accounts, but I finally deleted it for good around 3-4 years ago. Best thing I’ve ever done. In the end I really think Facebook has become a terrible social media platform anyway; you barely see what your friends are posting, just stupid news articles you don’t want to read, or photos of friends of friends, or argumentative threads where someone you know has commented, or just plain old ads. Too political, too hateful and such a waste of time and energy.

    I still have Instagram but only use it on my web browser. For some reason it doesn’t hold the same addictive quality for me, probably because the platform is quite different, especially the desktop version (the app is a lot more ad-heavy). I ruthlessly only follow close family and friends, none of whom post anything other than the occasional photo of their life. No mummy blogs or life inspiration or constant bikini shots.

    Like Lorde, I disabled my browser on my phone. I have around 15 apps and they’re all strictly utilities (eg bank, google maps for navigation, weather). I realise a browser can be a useful utility but in reality I just used it to look up random stuff and relieve boredom. In an emergency I could download a different browser from the App Store if needed, but I’ve never had to do this. My phone now has nothing entertaining on it and has gone back to being a tool rather than a distraction, which I really value because I feel like I’ve reclaimed my ability to focus. Highly recommend it, it’s incredibly freeing! Also check out The Social Dillema if you haven’t yet…

  19. Tiffany says:

    Sometimes you look at how people behave on social media and wonder if forty is the new fourteen. On the bright side, it can prepare you and teach you what not to be.

  20. Mimi says:

    She’s right. Social media is a disease. I avoid it as much as possible

  21. Katie says:

    Did anyone read the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook files” piece? I don’t have a subscription but listened to all four podcasts. The stories about knowing that Instagram is even more toxic for teen girls than other platforms and that their FB feed algorithm tweaks were making things worse but not really doing anything about any of it was very interesting (and of course an incomplete response to actual human trafficking was the most alarming of all). Worth a listen and probably worth a read.

  22. paranormalgirl says:

    I got rid of Instagram. I’m occasionally on Twitter, and my TikTok feed is mostly nontoxic (and strictly for entertainment purposes). Facebook is carefully curated to friends and family. It’s a way to keep in touch with my chosen family across the miles. I absolutely limit my time on any social media, and I am, by nature, a fairly private person.

  23. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Good for her. And sure, social media can be damaging. But thank God for it. It’s going through necessary and imminent growing pains. We’ve learned so so much about so many people, businesses, collectives. Granted, I’m not on anything and haven’t been for many years, but there’s no other way but to go forward, experience, learn, adjust… When we’re going through life, we’re told to know and love ourselves before taking on a partner. Social media is another entity which requires maturity, self knowledge and restraint. Never before has, ‘less is more’ been more potent. And with our children growing up within this realm of alternative living, it’s imperative they’re taught and not by taking it away. That’s just ridiculous. We give them drivers licenses and teach them how to drive cautiously but with certainty. This is no different. And if they’re having bad experiences, absence is a beautiful thing. Taking a break. But the depraved, the criminally insane and dangerous corners of our society need illuminating. I want them to have access, and I want to know how and what and why they think. Living in the dark, for me, well I simply never want to go back there again.