So I like social media. I think it can be a great thing. From an exposure or business perspective whereby in order to increase your customer base, awareness etc. you can reach the largest amount of people – depending on your target market of course.
We have multiple options at our fingertips, especially now as everything is accessible on a smartphone. As I look around a semi-busy central line train, there are a total of 4 people not on their phones. I can almost guarantee you that the majority of those on their phones are, or will dip into some form of social media at some point throughout their journey. I have already this morning – about 3 times – and its 8:09am. I’ve only been awake since 6:30… see what I mean?!
Of late however, I’ve become a little obsessed with social media. Not even every part to be honest, but the likes and the followers on Instagram. You see, to post something and to have your phone blow up with like after like, new follower after new follower is like a drug. It’s addictive, and a viscous cycle that is extremely difficult to break – I’m trying.
You see, I awoke this morning to find myself thinking that I haven’t posted a photo to Instagram in a while. Perhaps I should… perhaps I should remind the world I exist, that I’m here… Then I began to think – and this is borderline insane – what could I possibly post that could get me enough likes? What have people liked the most? I can tell you now, the images where I am posting about Christmas decorations, or a group photo in jeans and casual t-shirts aren’t among those most popular. These images highlight reality – real life, and nobody wants to see that.
The ones that are popular, are the selfies in a club, drinks at a bar, seductive pouts and a lot of makeup. Sex, seduction, a body bent in such a way as to enhance assets which are guaranteed to bring in the most likes and followers in the shortest amount of time – with the fewest hashtags.
I found myself thinking of the best way to get likes. How seductive could I look? How noticeable could I be? Ultimately how much attention could I seek on this platform to fuel my ego? And then I realised, when did I become this person, a person so obsessed with ensuring her worth is seen and calculated on a platform of likes?
What is social media doing to our representation of reality? It’s distorted at best. It’s something all of us do, whether it be a tactically taken post workout selfie – a girl at my gym did this last night, and my best friend walked straight into the picture by mistake – a topless or lingerie-clad pose with the most enhancing filter, or the perfectly lit selfie complete with pout and sultry stare, we all want to be liked for this extreme version of our reality.
Social media should be about photos we want to share because of the memories we have created. Instagram was designed to be a collage of your own personal mementos, not a tally chart of likes. While it always feels good to be noticed, I worry that us, and those younger, or those more easily influenced, are beginning to believe that their worth is measured through a collation of likes and follows based on the way we look, and not about the characters we are and the people we can be. It’s also leading us to behave immorally towards others, and most importantly, live our lives through a camera, rather than basking in a moment.
Looks can change within a fraction of a second, our characters can’t. So I didn’t post anything, I thought it best to re-evaluate my take on reality instead…