We live in a world where self esteem and a sense of belonging is being served on a platter of empty calories. You take the best photo of your life, you edit it to perfection and post it. Now you sit and wait for the ‘likes’ to come in, and your sense of validation is internal apprehension.. It can only be fulfilled when, and if, you get the public stamp of approval.
I’m not pretending that I have a sociology degree, (or any degree for that matter, considering the fact that I dropped out of high school lol) but I wanted to write this post from my own perspective because I’ve seen first hand the affects that come along with the invisible pressures of social media. How can any of us believe that the widespread presence and obsession with our social interactions, (albeit non physical, but cyber) aren’t simultaneously affecting our communication and social skills as a generation?
Teenagers and young adults that use social media have a 71% higher chance of severe depression, suicidal tendencies, and extreme anxiety.
I titled this blog ‘Dopamine‘ because that’s exactly the kind of affect Instagram has on our minds and bodies; Similar to that of a drug. (I’m sure snapchat, Facebook, etc. is the same, I’m just pointedly speaking about one platform because I don’t have any of the other ones.) I think the severity of the disconnect we’re all creating is real, but it’s a platform that so many of us (myself included) use to fulfill the supply and demand of our industry. The rush we all get from acceptance on social media, is like the rush from a synthetic drug. The definition of a drug is, “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect.” Something that is habit forming, something that one turns to yet tries to quit to no avail.
If social media wasn’t similar to a drug, it wouldn’t be so hard for people to stay away from or outright delete in the first place.
The more we log in online, the less and less we actually need to talk to people. We’re creating a cyber society where we don’t know how to connect in real life, because everything is focused on our phones. How ironic is that? That one of the main platforms we use to communicate with people, is also creating a cause and effect of isolation and disconnect? I’m not saying that everything is a negative! I’m just simply trying to point out how different the world has become.
I’ve been at shoots with girls that have 200K, 1 million, 5 million followers, and they can’t even hold a conversation because they’re on their phones the entire time trying to post the perfect photo; instead of interacting and living in the moment. It’s like so many of us would rather interact with people online, ones we haven’t even met, then the people that are standing right in front of us. I would love to direct a show that shows the behind the scenes actuality of what’s happening from post creation to submission. AKA. What the public sees when they look at posts, versus what’s actually going on in real life the second that post hits the net.
Episode 1; Girl goes on an all girls vacation to Cabo. Is going through a messy breakup. Takes hot picture (s) to show ex what he’s missing. Posts inspirational quote, something by the author Rumi or perhaps Marilyn Monroe. Adds in the hashtags ‘so blessed’ & ‘living my best life’. Glances at post with satisfaction. Hits the post button. Goes back, clicks edit, and adds in the hashtag ‘so unbothered’. Takes one too many shots of tequila and ends up crying in a bathroom at a club, angering the other drunk girls that really just need to pee, while her friends convince her to get off her phone and stop checking up on what her ex is doing. Walks back to table. Takes more hot dance videos. Goes back to the hotel room and leaves 27 voicemails on her ex’s phone, reminding him he’s not shit, and that she does, in fact, NOT miss him.
Social media has become a safety net for ‘dating’, because being rejected on a 3rd party site hurts a little less then an ignored phone call or text message. Guys get the attention of the girl they like by liking a couple of their pictures, hitting the follow button, and then following that extreme amount of effort up with a message that says, “Hi.” It’s easier to be vulnerable and open to someone through an app because if it doesn’t go the way we want it’s not an instantaneous physical rejection, just a cyber one that we can just chalk up to a lost in translation sort of thing.
Instead of having to get to know someone in real life, you can now just read their bios and assess wether or not you like that persons’ vibe. I mean, why tell people your favorite things or food preferences when you can just write “explorer” and “vegan” in your bio??
Someone that read my blog had reached out to me and said, “You write about some deep sh*t Aubrey.” Well.. What I’m writing about is real. One day I’ll make a post about my favorite makeup products, my outfit go to’s, maybe my skincare routine. But those type of posts aren’t why I created a blog in the first place. I’m not going to ignore the deeper unspoken truths that are lingering around us. I think a lot of people are scared to write about certain topics because of how they will be perceived. So many of us strive for perfection, and we want the world to see only the best sides of us.
Granted, I don’t show you guys pictures of me crying when I’m PMSing and the world is absolutely ending.. But no one wants to see me with mascara running down my face. I’m actually doing you a favor.
Our social media networks were created for positive reasons. To connect with people, to network, to interact with individuals all over the world that we might never have met otherwise. They are gateways (now considered a necessity) used to spread information, to inspire, to motivate. But I had to write about the darker side of it because we can ignore the truth all we want; but it still exists. When you go on Instagram, does it leave you feeling better or worse about yourself? We’re comparing ourselves and lives to these illusions of material things, lifestyles, and relationships that don’t really exist. The next best thing, wether it’s a vacation, material item, or person, is only a click away. Our attention spans are inherently shorter and shorter, and we’re yearning for what’s on the other side of the fence because the posts on other people’s pages are more appealing then our own.
But you know what?
Sometimes the grass is greener, on the other side of the fence, because it’s fake.