This evening I scrolled through my Instagram, looking back at months worth of my uploads. I love Instagram, updating my account probably more than I need to, and spending ages scrolling through my feed to keep up with friends and celebrities. There’s nothing wrong with that. Its a basic form of entertainment, its social media (duh).
I noticed that each of my photos made me and my life look nice. Sure, that’s narcissistic, but every photo was taken and edited with the intent to make the subject look better. No, I don’t spend hours getting the perfect shot, and meticulously and extensively editing and filtering my pictures. Sometimes there’s no filter, very little editing, and I have literally rolled out of bed with unwashed hair and no makeup (pretty average for me), and this is what is being presented in my feed. Except not really. Even the photos where I’m not at my best can be made, very quickly, to look good.
Okay, this is definitely sounding narcissistic, but that’s kinda the point. This isn’t a call-out post to promote self love and the dangers of photoshop, I’m not trying to make some humanitarian statement about the fake lives we promote on our social media. Maybe it is a little bit about not taking everything you see at face value.
But really, I’m thinking about the image I promote to my friends and followers. Its an image that, to me when I look back on it, I’m pretty pleased with. If that’s the lifestyle I can present to the world, I’m doing a pretty good job. My picture captions are probably the ‘realest’ part of my account, as they’re the bits that actually talk about the shitty stuff (and knowing me, that’s probably not too far from literally speaking…) and talking more honestly about what I’m living through, good and bad. But the reality of what my life looks like, that’s very different to my social media image. Sure, in the pictures where I’m ready for a night out, posed under good lighting, I really have scrubbed up. But so much of my life doesn’t make it to social media visually because really, it’s just not aesthetic enough. Pictures of myself sat in bed eating biscuits and drinking tea, in my pjs, at 4pm – unless taken with the right lighting, filter, angle … – are just not going to cut it (mainly because I do not have the time to make that a worthwhile photography subject).
The truth is, you can present yourself however you choose on social media. It’s not about remembering that “that picture is definitely edited”, and stressing over your peers with thoughts that “their life is so much better than mine!”, because social media, I believe, really isn’t that deep. People will always present their best side, and that’s okay. The boring and really personal crap isn’t that interesting anyway. (Semi-joking).
- I like seeing pictures of my friends from all over the place looking happy and pretty and that’s GREAT. Keep doing it, and so will I because I assume people think the same as I do.
- No I can’t afford all the cute dinner/drinks/any other dates I’m going on, but they look cute so I’m going to show them to you. If anything, I’m giving you ideas on new places to try out, you’re welcome.
- No I don’t always look put together, and yes I am lucky that I know how to quickly edit a picture to show off looking what I consider to be good.
- Hell yeah I’m narcissistic, self love is hella important, I don’t care.
- Yes I hide/warp “realistic” life occasionally. Duh. Some stuff people just don’t wanna know about, and even I am not gonna talk about that if its not in a private and confidential therapists office/friend’s bedroom.
- Comparing your real life to other people’s internet lives is utterly ridiculous. I know everyone is guilty of this at times, but really, stop stop stop stop stop. You know they’re doing the same, you know that online life is doctored, you know you do the same with your own stuff.
Keep it real. But not too real.