It is strange to think about how I view future social engagements in terms of their Instagramability. Out of my group of friends, who will be there? Where will the best lighting be? What outfit will look best in the photo? These all seem to very superficial thoughts, but people online media presences is very important. People joke that if you don’t have a Facebook, do you really exist? But there is so much truth hidden behind that question.
In Is Google Making Us Stupid the article goes on to describe the current generation’s way of thinking: “Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today.” We are who we portray ourselves on social media. Social media is our not so personal diary that all the world gets to read, and if we don’t write, we don’t exist.
This way of reasoning can be easily explained through the idea of electracy. Electracy dictates that all digital media philosophy is based around aesthetics. I can honestly say this way of thinking has negatively shaped my life. Firstly, I don’t live in the moment. There have been so many concerts or just even casual hangouts with friends that I have only lived out behind the lens of my iPhone. Secondly, it is not an accurate depiction of my life. My profiles of social media only depict the happy moments, photos dolled up in filters with bright smiles. My post and photos don’t show struggle, because then I would be perceived as weak. Our online presence is all about how we positively display our aesthetic.
This is a dangerous way of thinking. We all display our highlights of our lives and our followers see these grand time in our lives and feel the need to have as good of a time or one that is better. Social media then turns into a competition, that strives to make us live “picture perfect” lives. This then comes to the debate that social media inspires us to go out and live life to the fullest , but at the same time make it seem like we are never good enough.
I am not asking for a Dove commercial to fix societies current aesthetic on social media platforms, but internet users need to be understanding. Life’s messy and dark times can’t be fixed by a Mayfair filter, we have to separate ourselves from the online mask we wear.