Hands up who has at least one form of social media here? That includes Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, the works, it's all social media. Of course you do, there probably isn't even one person over the age of fourteen who doesn't. In fact approximately 24.3 million Australians use social media, that's almost the whole population of this country logging into the online world. Our social media platform of choice for Australia? Facebook of course, because who doesn't love posting a selfie, updating you friends list on your latest happenings and sharing all those funny YouTube videos you found during your lunch break.
But lets get real, social media isn't the real world. What you see on your Instagram and Facebook feeds isn't someones real life. What you see is the highlight reel, you see the bits they want you too see. Social media is a resource for people to portray their life as fun and glamorous. What you don't see is the hard times and the break downs, you don't see the struggles that people face, because who wants to announce that kind of stuff on social media for people to poke at and judge? More often than not you get the edited version of life.
A lot of the time photos are all about lighting and angles. You can contortion your body to look a different way- slightly sticking your bum out for a thigh gap, tensing for a flat stomach, curving you spine slightly for a bigger bum. You can't let someone else social media profile affect your self confidence and how you feel about yourself, don't let them make you feel insecure.
Take for instance some of the more populated accounts on social media. Although it looks like it, they don't get to spend all day every day lounging on deck chair poolside, or drinking fancy cocktails at a rooftop bar surrounded by other beautiful people. They don't look perfect 100% of the time, That is just what they want you to think. They have bad days, everyone has bad days, but no one documents them. A research project conducted by Custard in the UK found through a survey that only 18.7% of the two thousand people they asked could say that their social media profiles were a completely accurate reflection of who they are as a person. Is that saying something to you?
I'll be the first to say that it's not hard to be consumed by social media. Somehow social media has gone from a sharing tool, a resource to keep in contact with people, to a popularity contest. It is so easy to crave the fake appreciation you get from social media. One day you post a cute selfie because you like how you look and the next day you're craving the likes and the comments. The "babe you look stunning" from girls you don't even really like and the emoji comments from boys that you don't actually care about, but suddenly you care about their approval.
This used to be my life. When I was younger, by younger I mean maybe like two or three years ago I would post a photo of myself and wait for the fake appreciation to pour in, I started basing my self worth off the amount of likes my photos would get. That alone was SO damaging to my self confidence and self worth. If the photo didn't receive an acceptable amount of likes in the first few minutes, it was deleted. I soon learnt that the more cleavage that yo had out the more boys that liked your photos, and at that point of like the appreciation and "approval" in the form of likes from boys was SO important. I mean there is nothing wrong with showing off what you've got, if you've got it flaunt it, however I don't have boobs, well I do, but not really, so having them out meant I had to find the right poses to make them look better, I even learnt how to contour them, I mean I really put the effort in. And for what though? What did I really gain out of this fake appreciation and the likes and the comments, an ego boost that latest a few hours and then that was it?
But have you considered your mental health in all this social media facade? Because all the "faking it" for the Snapchat story or Instagram post isn't enhancing your mental health, its damaging it. For me, my self worth was very low by the time I realised what I was doing, I was basing my self confidence off the approval of other people, many of them I either had little to do with or didn't really like. So why was I so concerned about what they thought? That was the question that hit it home for me, once I realised that I wasn't doing my already poor mental health a favour and I couldn't answer that question, I sat and thought for a while. Now, I hardly post selfies, and when I do I don't sit there and count the like total on them, I post it and more often than not completely forget that I've posted it. I don't post on social media much at all, except for things concerning with either the family business or my blog, because social media is a very effective marketing tool for those. But I don't feel the need to, in a sense market myself and my life and my self worth anymore.
I leave you with these parting words: don't forget that behind the social media profile is an actual real life human being and just because they choose to show the highlights doesn't mean they don't experience the bad as well.