Social media may represent a big part of my job and life (cough cough huge part cough), but I have to say… some days as I scroll through feeds, especially on Instagram, I can’t help but feel pangs of irritation and sorrow… I genuinely find it painful to bear witness to the mind-boggling effects it has had on youth, society, people, self-worth, body image… and the list goes oooooon.
I see all these selfies of people at the gym lifting their tops to show off their rock-hard abs, pictures of fashion bloggers wearing 6 inch heels and mini skirts in the snow pretending that their outfit is in any way accessible and realistic for us mere mortals (question – are you ladies drunk?), celebrities posting almost nude shots of themselves with unrelated captions like ‘time for breakfast’… and it makes me question what the world is coming to. It makes me wonder to what extent some people live their lives in the search for online validation. How don’t they see that social media should only bear witness to your existence – not be your raison d’être. I mean think about it – it’s completely unnatural – social media barely existed a decade ago after all.
On the other hand, I actually ended up double tapping a picture on Insta the other day which read that seeing people’s selfies should make you smile because in that moment, you know that that person feels beautiful and confident. Beyond sad, but I suppose true.
I’m not saying that I’m not partial to a selfie myself don’t get me wrong – but my life does not revolve around the selfies I’m going to take today, nor the number of likes I’m going to get when I post them (thank God… I’d be seriously depressed from the lack of attention otherwise).
I also only keep up with a few select fashion blogs as I get irritated by girls who blog about each and every seasonal trend and their frenzied monthly hauls. With very little personal style to boot.
I know I’m not the only one who feels that way and the likes of Amalia Ulman (who created a fake superficial Instagram account as an art project) and Essena O’Neill (who posted a video of herself admitting that her life as an Instagram ‘model’ was miserable and nothing like what people might think by looking at her pictures) have very much confirmed that – the two initiatives themselves, but more importantly the internet’s mass response to them, are all tangible evidence of society’s very real issues with social media.
If posting pictures online is the only way for you to get the daily confidence boost you need, put your smartphone down and find new ways to achieve that. Similarly, if you find yourself scrolling through hundreds of pictures every day, wishing you were like the people you’re eyeballing, remember that people only show what they want you to see. Most of what you see on social media is in no way representative of their actual lives.
All that to say… follow who you like on Instagram but don’t forget these guys because they’ll genuinely put a smile on your face on the days when half naked girls doing yoga poses or meat heads flexing their guns make you want to stab your eyes out. No lost faith in humanity, no excessive narcissism, just furry (or spiky) balls of cuteness.
Then again, sometimes, I like to let myself willfully embrace the obvious absurdity (and awesomeness) of social media:
Because ridiculous amounts of money. And seriously gangsta cats.
Because hot dudes. With dogs.
That is all.