I don’t know how many hours I waste each week mindlessly scrolling through social media to gather news, stay up-to-date on long lost friends’ daily happenings, or daydream of far away locales, fancy outfits, and home décor. I, like many, am guilty of using these sites to only show a certain perfect part of who I am. Hidden from public scrutiny are tweets of my screw-ups at work, unexpected front facing camera selfies (yikes), or long-winded posts of the current state of the dizzying disarray my head is currently in right now. No one wants to hear or see that, or maybe that is my own insecurity telling me to keep the disorganized hidden for fear of judgment from outsiders. But isn’t that the point of social media, letting the outside world in, to an extant. We all want to live this picture-perfect life that we’ve somehow forgotten how to actually live a genuine life. We communicate in acronyms, emojis and slang through mediums that have begun to define us that we no longer know how to have meaningful face-to-face conversations.
A couple of weekends ago, I devoured My Friend Anna, a ridiculous story about a young woman who fooled people into believing that she was a German heiress, was able to scam businesses, and conned the one girl who believed to be her friend, Rachel DeLoache Williams, the author of the story. A few days after, I stumbled upon the story of Caroline Calloway, another absurd story of an egomaniac, and I couldn’t help but think – is this what we have become in this digital age of constant life sharing? Nothing is authentic and genuine, and because of this, we no longer have the ability to differentiate the real from fake. It’s as if we are in this constant need to prove ourselves to others that we look to the number of likes and followers we have gained through our beautifully styled grids, which obviously can only mean that we all have our shit together, for reassurance.
Our lives have become highly curated tiles that we will pay money to capture an incredible Instagrammable moment for others to see, or have mastered the monetization of that perfectly poised look by representing brands in a square shaped image, brands one may not believe in, but who cares, they’re paying money, right? Then, we anxiously wait to see the likes roll in that we forget to experience the moment, to live in the moment, and to just accept the moment as is.
Maybe we all want to make beautiful things, and we do this through styling a beautiful picture? Maybe we all want to be viewed as perfect, and we do this by posting that perfect image. And maybe we all want human connection, but instant connection, not something we have to build, we want it right away, and we do this by following and liking, but that’s as far as we’ll go.
However, on the other hand, there is also a lot of good that can be found on these platforms. It has opened the window into landscapes one may never visit personally, started the dialogue with people one may never have the opportunity to converse with, it has made us more aware of what is happening globally, introduced us to new people, and put smiles on our faces – if you don’t follow Tiny Chef or Simon’s Cat, please do so asap.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to get at here, but what I do know is that we have started comparing our lives to something unattainable, we mindlessly live life through a filtered lens, and we spend hours scrolling that we are unaware of what is happening IRL, unless we’ve just seen a livestream of it through our devices. Maybe it’s time for us to step back for a second and just be present and content with life as is, undocumented and unfiltered. Or maybe, it’s time for me to do that?
The irony is not lost on me as I shamelessly share this post on social media, hoping that the title is clickbait-able enough to entice readers. And I should share that this article is me pointing the finger at myself, as I am so guilty of the social media post, like, tweet craze.