I often wonder what people think of me when they look at my Instagram profile. Do they think that I’m 10/10 awesome? Aggressively mediocre? Boring? Weird?
I’m no better, though; I often find myself making somewhat judgemental observations as I scroll past their snapchat stories, Instagram photos, and Facebook updates. She has a lot of friends. He parties a lot. She has a perfect life.
But behind each posed, edited, and carefully chosen photo is often times a completely different story. The very nature of being able to share information about your life to try to attract followers and likes and friends motivates people to be fake. We end up doing things just for the pictures we can take and then post. We feel like we have to show our followers, some of whom we may not have talked to since 6th grade homeroom, how amazing our lives are.
So the conclusion that I have come to is that social media is just a platform for flexing [Flex – to stunt or show off]. After all, people aren’t going to post about the things that are going wrong in their lives. But this means that one’s social media profile is just a one sided view of their life.
Take Tanner and Jade Tolber for example. For years, ever since their “Bachelor in Paradise” fame, they have made a living broadcasting podcasts and Instagram ads that showcase their “perfect” family. As one of the TV show’s limited success stories, they garner a lot of attention with their cute marriage and adorable child. However, they recently shared that before they had their daughter, they suffered a miscarriage, and have been grieving ever since.
Admittedly, I am a firm believer that the Bachelor fosters true love, and everything that happens is real in its own right. However, the show (and resulting social media fame) make an effor to showcase these fairytale romances. For this reason, it was weird to me that the lives of the bachelor couples that I strive to emulate aren’t actually that perfect after all.
The problem with social media photos is that they are single frames, and not representative of an entire narrative. Behind every duck-face selfie is just a person seeking some sort of attention. I mean, every person who posts on any social media platform is. Whether it’s a political candidate, a small business, a school club, or just your average Instagram-lovin’ person, we all post to make something known.
Personally, my entire Instagram feed screams “look how cool my life is” or “purchase this item from my business” or “vote for me for ILR freshman representative.” And I certainly fall into this trap of seeking out attention without even realizing it. I mean, I wear sweatshirts 6/7 days of the week, but all my Instagram posts happen to have been taken on that one day that I actually decide to dress up for a change. Who knows, maybe there are some followers out there thinking that I have such a great fashion sense, when in reality I look like I just rolled out of bed.
It’s funny that social media aims to connect us, when in actuality there is such a disconnect between what we see on our screens and what happens in real, unfiltered life. There are 24 hours in a day, and each post you see on someone’s feed took 0.1 seconds to take. When you think about it, comparing your life to the infinitesimal fractions of other people’s lives that they choose to show you seems a bit silly. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how valuable are those words if they don’t reflect reality?
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