I’ve had an overwhelming desire to write a post like this, but I just couldn’t put it into words. Here’s to about a month’s worth of random thoughts about social media and authenticity! 🙂
On Netflix’s Black Mirror episode “Nosedive,” a woman named Lacie lives in a pastel, Instagram-perfect world where people rate each other on a scale of 1-5 after each interaction. Your rating determines your social status and those with higher ratings receive perks such as better seats or discounts. In order to get a discount on a luxury apartment she’s been wanting, she’s on a quest to boost her rating to 4.5. In the end, after a series of catastrophic events, her rating goes from a 4.2 to a 0.
From our Uber drivers to the bottom of every grocery receipt, we’re constantly being rated and being urged to rate others that brings a sort of superficialness. Ultimately, Lacie begins to learn how freeing honesty and authenticity can be and how silly and ridiculous the world’s rating system in. (The episode is rated R for mature language. It is excellently thought-provoking for ages 16+ but parents should proceed with caution.)
Bringing Back Authenticity
1. I recently read a post where a girl admitted she spent an HOUR trying to figure out how to make her Instagram perfect and finding the perfect picture to post until she finally settled on an “imperfect” (albeit highly edited) picture. I’ve seen dozens of variations of this on social media lately.
2. A year ago maybe…I remember seeing a viral Facebook post of a girl who really wanted a plain donut, but was going to get a sprinkled one because she thought it would look better on social media. (I’ll admit, I did laugh at this.) She ultimately choose the plain one and wrapped it up with a “be yourself” lesson.
Firstly I thought, why do you feel the need to share your donut on social media? (I had boxed mac and cheese for lunch, if anyone cares. 🙂 )
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to have a positive social media presence or to portray yourself in a positive manner. I mean, when you see a casual acquaintance at the grocery store, you probably won’t start ranting about all of your problems. (Save the drama for your llama.)
Still, there’s a pressure to be less authentic on social media in exchange for more superficial fame. More than viral or popular, I want to be authentic. I share something on Facebook or write something because I thought it was funny, I liked it, or I believed in it, not because I thought it’d get a ton of likes.
And as a designer, I love beautiful, lovely things and beautiful photography is one of them. But selling your authenticity, time, and self worth for a highly edited perfect social media persona? There’s so many other better things that are worth caring about than a perfect Instagram feed.
I’ve had three posts on my Facebook page that have received over 40,000 views. The first was a few years ago of a heartbreaking Holocaust memorial in Hungary. The second was a message of love for Christians: how to respond to your daughter when she tells you she’s pregnant. The third one hit nearly 225,000 views during this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
For a twenty year old female blogger, those topics aren’t popular. However, I love these posts because each one of them had a purpose and a powerful, poignant message beyond myself.
There’s nothing wrong with fashion or lifestyle bloggers. I follow several and love getting ideas for cute outfits or yummy food ideas. Beauty bloggers taught me how to apply makeup on my hooded, Asian eyes and the best places to find clothing for petites.
Everyone’s authentic will be different. And that’s beautiful. We’re all made differently. We all have different passions, goals, motivators, and aspirations. I love history. My sister loves fitness motivation posts. My roommate has a heart for servitude. A pageant friend and coach loves encouraging other women to achieve their best in life.
Whether your authentic is your love of fashion, history, inspiring others, family, food, or just making people laugh (we all love funny memes), stopping the never ending social media pressure simply begins with a conscious effort to post with a purposeful intent.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt