Can social media live up to real life?

Kelsey Butler /
Oct 1, 2018 / Culture

Scroll through your Instagram and how many posts do you see of the so-called perfect person, with the perfect life?

We’ve all been there. Scrolling and rolling our eyes at the same time as you compare your life to the lavish lives of the 500 million people who use Instagram each day, but is all as it seems?

Studies show that 75% of people admit to ‘faking it’ on social media to make their lives seem more interesting. Drake raps about faking it in his song ‘Emotionless’ “I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown, to post later and make it look like she still on the go”. Why do we feel the need to make our lives more interesting? Why don’t we feel like our real life is enough?

In a feature for Harper’s Bazaar, Influencer Lucy Williams who has almost 350,000 followers on Instagram talks about going on a holiday with girlfriends following a break-up, and receiving comments on her Instagram about how “dreamy” her life was, and how great she looked, but Lucy went on to explain that “in reality, I just looked skinny from losing my appetite for a few weeks and crying a lot.” To take it one step further, earlier this year Carolyn who blogs at The Slow Traveller, celebrated her 22nd birthday with a trip to Disneyland, and shared the whole thing on Instagram. Well, actually she hacked her own account to present a version of her perfect life and Instagrammed the hell out of her trip, despite never visiting Disneyland and being 32! She eventually came clean about the whole thing. Isn’t it scary that we’re able to do this? It shows just how filtered social media can be, but also how far we will go for the likes and to portray this ‘perfect’ life to followers.

Let’s face it we all love getting a compliment, which has evolved into a like on your latest post. Instagram sees 4.2 billion likes every day, but how genuine are these likes? If 75% of people fake it, are we faking the likes as well as the versions of ourselves? Or do the likes even count as the person we’re portraying isn’t really us?

There are pages and pages on Google giving advice on ‘taking the perfect Instagram shot’, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley spoke about the perfect selfie ‘You need half-an-hour, you need great lighting and you need to be prepared to take about 100 pictures of yourself, edit through 100 pictures of yourself and filter them three times.’ The pressure we put on our selves and the lengths we go to get ‘the’ shot is unreal. 66% of Instagram users are Female, for decades we’ve complained about images of models and celebrities in magazines being photoshopped and airbrushed, but we’re happy to Facetune, filter and fake our social media without thinking twice? What’s the difference?

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I’ve scrolled Instagram multiple times whilst writing this, and my favourite thing to do when I’m having a shit day is to stalk ghosts from the past on Facebook (don’t pretend like you don’t!). I think it’s brilliant, but it does take its toll. Seeing how everyone appears to be living the dream, when maybe you’re not is tough. Telling yourself that all is not as it seems, is hard when you’re having a bad day.

Why is impressing everyone else so important to us? Impressing people we haven’t seen since high school or people we have never even met! Why do we feel we need to impress them with this ‘better’ version of ourselves? Why can’t we just be us? I’m the twenty-something girl who is doing ok. Who is happy and is content, with not faking it.

Let’s remember to not take everything seriously, to have fun with social media but also to log off for a while and not feel the need to live up to the ‘gram.

Words by Kelsey Butler

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