Since when have we all become so dependent on social media?
I remember the days when I used to take pictures for the sake of capturing memories, but today, I capture them to share on social media to an audience full of personas that I think hold value.
I’m not going to talk about how we should stop spending so much time on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, because let’s face it: We’re all addicted to the rush they give us. But, there comes a time when our compulsivity to conform, share our best lives, and be like the latest influencers consequently makes us show a part of ourselves that isn’t real. Just like the rest of Instagram, we share our lives under filters.
We use filters to enhance how we look to the outside world.
I’ve always believed that no one on social media is having as great a time as they claim. After all, how could they? How could someone always highlight the greatness in their life day after day without ever alluding to the fact that maybe things aren’t so shiny on the other end? Maybe, their boyfriend really is a dick. Maybe, their job really does suck. Maybe, they wish their entire life was different. It’s not outside the realm of possibility for these social media stars to live difficult lives. After all, life is not always happy; it’s dark and full of hurdles that we have to find the strength to climb over.
These are the people we’re emulating: fake influencers with shiny backgrounds and buzz around everything they do. We follow their inspirations to share our own shiny stories.
But maybe, it’s OK if we decide to not do that. Perhaps, it’s OK if we don’t live up to the expectations that social media hands us.
It’s OK that we don’t want to only live life behind that filter that makes our lives into a pretty picture.
The pressure to live up to social media’s immeasurable popularity contest can make us feel like our unique identities somehow fall short. Maybe, we don’t look like those stars. Perhaps, our interests are more introverted. Maybe, the baggage we hold causes us to feel ashamed of our originality. The number of likes we obtain holds so much value that we find ourselves throwing in the towel. We tell ourselves, “Maybe, I should try something different. Obviously, I’m not good enough as I am.”
The irony is that if you emulate someone you admire, the “likes” you receive just reinforce the mindset that you are, well, not good enough. Eventually, you’re caught in the tides of a vicious cycle that pushes you further and further away from your actual identity. Caving to the pressure to live a “perfect” life on social media is like high school all over again: You’re just trying to fit in.
There’s beauty in just being yourself, though, regardless of how popular you remain on Instagram. We’ve somehow placed all this emphasis on putting our best foot forward in the digital world that we may have forgotten that it’s not even real life… for any of us! At the end of the day, the person you’re trying to mold yourself into has their drawbacks. They’re not real.
The only thing that’s real on social media is you. Your originality is what makes you intrinsically invaluable to this world. Maybe, Instagram doesn’t need more filters. Maybe, it just needs a little more you.