“Does my life look good in this?”
That’s the question I suspect many of us secretly ask ourselves daily. Social media has given us the ability to share snippets of ourselves with our friends and followers, allowing them a glimpse into our lives. How accurate are these glimpses though, when we have to power to construct a carefully considered image? Essentially we are creating a representation of what it is like to be us, and it’s too easy to make that representation look very appealing, even if our reality is far from it.
I am guilty of this myself. When uploading a photo I’m unconsciously thinking to myself, ‘What does this photo say about me?’ ‘Will people think I’m funny?’ ‘Will people think I look good in this photo?’ ‘Will people be impressed by this? ’’Will my friends like this?’. Now it may be slightly embarrassing and shameful to admit that, but I’d bet my bottom dollar many of you reading this are inwardly agreeing…’Yeah I do that too…’ – which just shows the widespread effect of social media.
Speaking of influence, being exposed to hundreds of photos everyday on social media platforms can take its toll on us. Instagram is littered with photos – of girls with perfect hair and perfect bodies, peoples exotic holiday snaps, the purchases someone has made from a luxury brand or designer, the delicious meal someone has just eaten, there are just too many to name. Such images trigger a yearning, a desire for that which we see in the photos and we feel a mixture of envy and adoration, and although we are envious, we also enjoy seeing these things because in some twisted way it makes us set our sights higher, aim to emulate the life of the person we admire.
That brings me to why I am writing this post – Hell, it brings me to why I blog at all (apart from enjoying spewing my thoughts, feelings and opinions on the internet), and that is because I feel like I should be doing something with my life. After my usual late night Instagram stalk, I had curled up into bed feeling utterly inferior to my stalk-ees. Because they were all fabulous, on the beaches of Mexico in their Tigerlily bikinis, sipping green smoothies from jars whilst writing new recipes for their health blogs. They were also jetting off to Fashion Week somewhere in the world, wearing free designer clothes and blogging about their outfit. And don’t forget the ones who had been at gym everyday this week, posting selfies of their ripped abs with captions like ‘still got a long way to go’.
Well, puh-leaase! Tell me if I’m the only one who feels like they haven’t achieved anything worth mentioning yet in life because I don’t have 533K followers on Instagram, and because Bec & Bridge haven’t sent me any free clothes yet.
So after feeling a little down in the dumps I thought I’d have a quick, objective look at my own Instagram to see how it would look to someone who wasn’t me. Although it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the ones I described previously it wasn’t too bad. Like, I guess I would want to be friends with me if I wasn’t me….
And then I realized how pathetic and image conscious social media is making us. Why should I care what people think? Am I really that concerned with appearing like a cool person that my subconscious considers what type of message a photo will convey before I actually post it? Not to point the finger but I’m positive the majority of you reading this do exactly the same, and if you honestly don’t, then you are one of the lucky ones for remaining untouched and untainted by the perils of social media stress.
This doesn’t mean we need to change, I fear that this thought process is so ingrained that its almost as natural as trying to make a good first impression in real life. It’d just be nice not to feel as though we have to prove our worth by portraying something that will appeal to others.
Although, for me, one good thing has come of this feeling of inferiority and that is the fact that seeing all of these peoples so called ‘lives and achievements’, or rather their carefully constructed ideal lives, has given me a kick in the bum, to take action and actually do something that I hope will be worthwhile, and write a blog post.
So it can’t be all bad…and who knows, if this blog goes to plan, perhaps the next photos you see me uploading will be of me at Fashion Week in a bikini with ripped abs and a bowl of Quinoa.
Keep your eyes peeled, you heard it from Hannah x