Working in social media has opened my eyes to the good and bad sides. I’ve mentioned reasons that I don’t think social media is horrible, but there is definitely a bad side too. I recently watched Ingrid Goes West on Hulu, and it got me to thinking. Is social media turning us into liars and fakes?
Social media is not reality
Social media can make everything look so perfect. Amazing photos from your vacation, those new shoes that just hit the stores, and a perfect face with no blemishes. What you probably forget is what people actually go through to get those shots. When I am taking photos for my blog or social media, everything out of that shot might not be so glamourous. In the film I mentioned, the main character is seriously bending over backwards to get some sort of validation from the people around her. She literally moves across the country to become friends with someone who she admires on social media. Once she became friends with her, she realized that the life she wanted was not the life that her “idol” had.
As someone who has had some rough patches, I was still putting my best life out there. I was showing how “happy” I was, and how many friends I had. Let’s be realistic, college is hard on everyone. No one wanted to see me crying over a book about commercial law. I didn’t even want to see myself crying over a book about commercial law. When that was happening, social media was not as important as it is today. Barely anyone cared about Instagram, and there sure wasn’t any branding going on in my friend group.
Social media can actually be scary
If you don’t like a movie spoiler, then go ahead and stop reading this now, or just skip this section! You have definitely heard horror stories of people stalking others off of social media. Even in the movie, she watches the girls every move on social media. She physically goes places that the girl has posted about to go and meet her. There is definitely a line between wanting to meet someone, and being a stalker! What if someone has intentions that are more along the lines of injuring you? Do you delete all of your profiles? Do you stop going for that avo toast that you love?
In addition to someone trying to hurt you, there is also the issue with potentially hurting yourself. This is where the spoiler comes in. The main character in Ingrid Goes West realizes that she has ruined her life by stalking her obsession. Since she realizes that she can never have that life, or even be part of the other life she wants, she takes it to an extreme. She takes to the internet to post a suicide video. Are we really that self absorbed that we think everyone wants to know what goes on every second? Also, is our desire for acceptance leading us down a path of self destruction?
When is too much, too much?
Ingrid only felt validation when she was friends with another girl who was an influencer on Instagram. She completely changed who she was, faked an entire persona, and tried to take her own life. So many people reached out to support her after her attempt. Should we be glorifying that? Is risking your life worth the social media exposure? When is it considered crossing a line? Wasn’t the original point of social media to focus on our real lives? While it is probably too late for the majority of social media users, it is time to take back your life. Start by putting whatever you want on social media. Don’t worry about how many likes or views something gets. If you like it, then that is really all that matters.
In addition to social media being potentially risky for our health, it is also completely changing. Before, it was just all about taking photos with our phone. I’m partially convinced that phone companies were forced to create better cameras due to social media. This article from Man Repeller is seriously incredible. She did an experiment to see which photo received better engagement, and you might be surprised by the results. I guess the moral of this post is that social media should not control our lives, and really shouldn’t be causing us to lie about who we are.
How do you feel about social media? Do you think it’s good or bad?