Recently I’ve experienced a lot of people making an effort to congratulate me on how well I’m doing in my work, which is an amazing feeling. I’m sure they also feel pretty amazed when I thank them, but mention that it’s actually nowhere near as glamorous as it looks. In fact, the best of what you see is all online, which brings me to the topic of this post…
Social media: Only showing people what you want them to see since 2002.
How many times have we seen it before? You run into someone who looks nothing like their Facebook photos, or you’ve encountered someone whose stylish and A-list lifestyle looks tres fab on the internet, but doesn’t quite shape up when it comes to reality. This, my friends, is social media sketchiness. I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it. So now that we’re both no longer in denial, let’s go over the reality of the issue.
Social media is a platform for ordinary people to project an image of themselves out onto a global stage. In a world that is so consumed by celebrity and exclusivity, everyone is trying to reach for their slice of the fame pie. Whether it’s fame on a gargantuan scale, or just within your friends list, if you’re an avid social media master you’re still a victim to it and it’s not like that’s a bad thing. Social media has the ability to let everyone know about the changes in your life. If you’ve gotten married, gone overseas, received a promotion, lost weight, or changed your underwear, social media allows you to share this information with your friends and even those who aren’t. This creates a perception of you in someone else’s opinion which is highly controlled and influenced by what you choose to share. You can make yourself look glamorous, stylish, wealthy, or smart. But in reality, do we shape up?
That’s a whole different topic altogether. So on another note, I recently read an article by JM Henderson who is a Forbes contributor. She gives us three reasons why we should quit social media..
1. It harms self-esteem
2. It’s bad for the blood pressure
3.There is no substitute for offline
While I could really argue either side of these points, I’d like to explain my instinctual opinion here. Point one – you’ve got to be kidding me? Social media is only harmful to the self-esteem of those who are limited in their own belief of themselves. Get up, dress up, show up, never give up, the end. Point two – absolutely, it might be bad for the blood pressure. But in hindsight, if you’re not being conversational (and even argumentative) on topics you might not have otherwise discussed, what ARE you being? You’re limiting yourself to your own frequent circle of humans with no room to further develop your knowledge or thinking. I’d rather have bubbly blood-pressure than one that is dormant. Point three – JM Henderson, you are on the money, there isn’t any substitute for offline. Whether it involves making an actual phone call to communicate, or just turning off all devices for an hour, the peace of knowing you‘re free from disruption (and cellular radiation) is invaluable.
Following on from that is the effect and influence that social media has on consumerism. Put your hand up if you’ve ever purchased something or been somewhere simply because you’ve seen it on social media? I know I have. In fact, it would take more than one hand to count the number of items I’ve bought just from product placement on Instragram alone. What we are witnessing is organisations cashing in on a thematic group of people that are developing a brand or a product virally and at a rapid rate. You could even say that we’re doing the work for them. Throw in some ‘brand ambassadors’ with 100k+ followers and they’ve got themselves a pretty lucrative business. Consumerism on social media has a snowball effect and people with niche products are reaping the benefits of the sharing, liking and talking that is the addiction of contemporary internet shoppers and social media users. That’s one powerful marketing tool.
I guess the point I’d like to make is that while you might scroll through your timeline and feel inadequate, depressed or imperfect, remember that no one else is unblemished. What you see online is the result of the person behind the screen strategically choosing how they want themselves portrayed, and let’s admit it, the chances of sharing the shitty things in life are far outweighed by the occasional fabulous thing that may occur. So while what you see might be a close representation to actuality, there will always be a filter, or the power of exaggeration, or the delete button.
Keep your social media game strong and don’t let the players get you down.
Posted 24th April @ 5.15pm