Social media kicks ass. Social media sucks ass. IDK how to feel about it, and IDK how comfortable I am with the fact that I type IDK instead of ‘I don’t know’. I JUST DON’T KNOW, GUYS.
As always with these discussions, we’ve gotta have a ‘First Things First’. (I’ma start abbreviating this to FTF because I need a ‘thing’ and I think this might be it)
So, FTF: Social media is awesome. Social media connects us. Social media provides us with a bigger picture – a better picture – than the one fed to us through mainstream media. Case in point: In the event of breaking news, I head to Twitter before I’d even dream of turning on the TV or hitting up BBC News. Social media allows us to stay close to people we’d otherwise have lost contact with. Forreal, at the ripe old age of 11 my friend Ellie and I put ourselves on Friends Reunited. Premature? Totally. Weird? Totally. Even weirder: I’m pretty sure my email address was homage to Justin Timberlake (email@example.com always and, obviously, 4eva). Looking back now, I understand why the date field in online forms lets you select that you could’ve been born a mere year ago; there are, assumedly, babies out there concerned that they’re gonna lose touch with their pre-school soul sistas. My point being, we were obviously a little bit aware that we could lose contact, and that realisation simply wasn’t cutting the mustard. Thankfully, MySpace Tom reared his pretty little shoulder-peeping head and Friends Reunited was a thing of the past; that and the fact that we were the only people we knew on it, being 11 years-old and all. But, possibly the best gift social media bestows upon our interconnected, overlapping, inescapably conjugated lives is the ability to see a true representation of things/events/people/places, whether it’s a celebrity calling-out shoddy journalism, a real-time insight into acts of terrorism or the capacity to call out mainline media: prime example being the harrowing Eric Garner video, the comparatively corrupt and false version of events recorded by the police (that wouldn’t have otherwise been questioned), and the completely justifiable outrage and call for change thereafter.
But then again, social media allows us to witness a mammoth amount of misrepresentations; namely, other people’s lives. The perfect brunch, the perfect BBQ, the perfect outfit, the perfect hotel room, the perfect cat-eye, the perfect overdrawn lip, the perfect couple, the perfect clothes, the perfect contour, the perfect sea-view, the perfect FUCKING EVERYTHING. And, unless you haven’t quite gathered, all this exposure is turning me into a crazy asshole. As well as a huge hypocrite. You see, I know we’re all guilty of this. We pluck the best bits of our days and filter the fuck out of them until they’re social media ready. It’s not a bad thing – the capability to have such intimate knowledge of the minutiae detail of a strangers life is weird and wonderful – but the way it’s making us feel is bad. Example: We all know that we take a minimum of thirty selfies before tirelessly scrolling through them until we differentiate how ever-so-less lazy our eye looks in number twelve.
‘A-ha! Twelve! Twelve it is!’
* filter * * caption * * post * * hope dem likes roll in * * get concerned that nobody’s liked a pic of your face *
‘But I got, like, a hundred likes on a photo of Malteser spread’.
* despair over the state of your life and, apparently, your face *
The same goes for: sunsets; Eggs Benedict; impressive buildings; sassy storefronts; perfectly executed coffee foam art; FWIS shots (from where I stand, if ya didn’t know); belfies (who knew such a thing would exist and be named); ‘my furs is mongolian’ pics (guilty x100); bikini bod snaps; TGIF beverage pics; the Instagram ‘flat-lay’ (can’t believe it’s got its own terminology); macarons (overrated, IMHO); bird-eye view ‘look at how much food I’m ’bout to annihilate, baby’ shots; ‘woops, went shopping’ hauls, and basically everything else that isn’t remotely mundane and has the potential to become ‘Instagrammable’.
It’s insanity. It’s beyond absurd that we’ve begun to measure our worth by the frequency with which people double-tap a photo. Regarding the Instagram ‘flat-lay’: we all know that desk-tops just aren’t arranged like that. Perfectly placed rose-gold accessories, the latest copy of Vogue and a fresh bunch of flowers exist only on the ‘Gram. Our desks don’t actually look like that when we’re using them (which is, I believe, the purpose of a desk and the things placed on it: to be used) which means that we actually invest our precious time into arranging our accoutrements to look photo-worthy. It’s a massive pile of steaming social doo-doo and yet it’s one that we continue to perpetuate and aren’t going to stop perpetuating anytime soon. I know this because I know I can’t stop. As a blogger and writer I try to be as prevalent on social media as possible, for the sake of my content. Don’t get me wrong: I wear extravagant furs and I write about toilet troubles primarily through the joy of doing it. I love documenting my style, as completely lame as that admission sounds, because it’s something that I pride myself on. I love clothes. I love wearing clothes. SO SHOOT ME! I write because I hope it makes people think or laugh or, ideally, both. But half the fun of all this blogging lark is sharing your shit and seeing other people appreciate what you wear or how you write. Getting feedback is amazing and it makes me indescribably happy to know that what I’ve written – and, all too often, what I wear – has made my pals laugh. Yet through this I know I’m depicting an image of a lifestyle I definitely don’t have or, at the very least, don’t consistently live, by any stretch of the imagination. If you were to glimpse through my Insta, you’d think I spent my gloriously dossing around Primrose Hill wearing unwarranted amounts of majestic fluff. Is that the truth? Absolutely not.
My point is: that is not my life. I knock out blog photos in one days worth of shooting and then whack the posts up at different times. I don’t have the time, nor the money, to fart-arse around town every day looking like a sassy cosmonaught. Similarly, if you see a photo of my latest kicks, it’s most likely taken in my porch (my mother has exceptional taste in porch tile) and the rest of me is undoubtedly in a dressing gown. A John Lewis men’s checked dressing gown, if you must know. True story. THAT’S WHAT US BLOGGERS DO. We’re social media saddos. We have to be for the sake of our blogs. No content = no exposure. No exposure = no progress. It’s a vicious cycle and one that has me comparing myself to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. I’m mad at people I don’t even know, simply based on a bunch of filtered pixels they decide to share with the world. The jealousy is real and I hate it. I’m logical enough to realise that Joelene Floggs isn’t having the time of her life, looking like a contour queen and dressing like a Kardashian, every single second of the day, and yet a small part of me still believes that her day must be better than mine. An even bigger part of me believes that her face is better than mine, her bank balance is bigger than mine and her body is way more babe’ing than mine. Why? What am I basing that on? Why am I sending myself insane with comparisons when I know exactly how this whole thing works? Staring at Joelene’s filtered feed for long enough won’t give me Joelene’s filtered feed; or her face, bank and body, for that matter. Her ‘Gram may be more aesthetically pleasing than mine but who’s to say that her reality is any greater than mine? Variety is the spice of life and we’re all wonderful as we are, but social media is turning us into inharmonious, insecure, narcissistic numpties. It’s ludicrous.
What I think I’m saying is that if we all had the lives we portray on social media, we’d probably have better things to do than social media. Or we just wouldn’t care as much. I need to stop comparing. We need to stop comparing. The green-eyed monster is just that: a monster. And if Monsters Inc taught us anything, it’s that monsters don’t live under the bed; they come in through a perfectly timed system of portals. And if that isn’t some kind of Illuminati shit representing social media then I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
I need to stop rueing the day Myspace Tom threw us all a cheeky little over-shoulder glance and introduced to my life the feeling of constant inadequacy. We’ve gotta start living these moments instead of rushing to capture them, and not let that devilish fiend Comparison rob us all of Joy. Now please excuse me whilst I notify my followers and friends of this latest post on every media platform imaginable.
N.B.: Y’all might be pleased to know that our old pal Myspace Tom has Twitter and his last tweet read ‘Is Friendship better than Love?’. D’awh. YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT, TOM!
ph. from Google