Social media allows us to manipulate the best version of ourselves we want to be displayed on our profiles. Whether or not you take advantage of that manipulation, the choice is there. Does your Instagram feed say you’re a fashionable person lavishing in a luxury lifestyle? Or are you a down-to-earth individual exploring the wilderness around you every weekend?
But what are you actually?
Can we even define ourselves as just one thing? Social media makes us seem so packaged that a label is readily available to be slapped on, and there we are – categorized. You’re a makeup guru, a food blogger, or a travel junkie. You are one thing, and one thing only.
Why do we follow the rules of social media if there are so many things to question about it?
I’m guilty. I’m guilty for being roped into the social media world. For listening to its rules and formulas, that I must do this to achieve that. Does it always work? No.
I wish I wasn’t guilty, but I think that’s why we follow the rules of social media. Personally, I want so much to succeed on social media (we’ll talk about the definition of success later) that sometimes I think it’s fine to just be another. Another person with a perfectly curated Instagram feed, even if it lacks character and everything that makes me, me.
It’s so wrong. I know.
But in the world we live in today, isn’t your social media life important? It’s scary to think “Nosedive,” a Black Mirror episode is so damn relevant in our society. To quickly recap, the episode is set in a world where people can rate each other from 1-5 stars for every interaction they have, which impacts their overall socioeconomic status. The higher rating you have, the more popular and well-treated you are. Read more about the plot here if you haven’t watched it.
People are so obsessed with the amount of likes and followers they have, that it’s relatable to the episode. A scene reflects Lacie (the main character) buying a latte to snap a photo and share to increase her rating. In reality, she took one sip and left it because she didn’t even enjoy it, she only liked how it looked and knew it would do well for her ratings. How is that any different than what we do now? I can’t post a photo of my old and dirty notebook – doesn’t look well for aesthetics. Best to buy a new one, I suppose.
For myself, I think I’m struggling the find the line between just being another, and being what I want to be, with personalization and character. How am I meant to create an Instagram feed that I am pleased with both visually and value-wise? I’ve been so focused on trying to create a visually cohesive feed, that I have often forgotten that these photos are nothing if I don’t provide anything beyond surface level. What do I bring forth? Is there any value to anything I post?
I’ve begun combatting this issue by writing more engaging and thought-provoking captions. It isn’t always so, but it’s a start. It has helped me provide more of who I am into my Instagram feed. I believe I also need to tweak my definition of success. Success isn’t just numbers; this is still something I’m trying to wrap my head around. Success is being heard, being acknowledged. Not through likes and followings, but through interactivity and engagement.
This post was written more for myself to break down the issue and attempt to understand it more, in order to improve my mindset and drive. Perhaps in a few months or a year, I can reflect back on this and provide some advice regarding this matter.
Do you have any advice or have stories to share? What is your take on authenticity vs. social media? How do you combine the two instead of pitting them against each other?