The Highs and lows of social media

This is now a well-trodden topic, not only within the blogging community but now within the media also. With former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya recently claiming that Social Media is ripping society apart.
He references the initial introduction of the ‘like button’ and how Facebook knew full well the potentially negative effects this could have. Receiving a ‘like’ triggers a dopamine high within the recipient. This high is similar to that when we eat tasty food, have (good) sex, make money or use cocaine. It therefore can become addictive.
Everyone curates their Instagram feeds now, selecting to show only the best bits. Lots of bloggers even have ‘themes’ where every image on their ‘grid’ features something pink or is all edited in a way to make them really bright and white. These themes are an attempt to tie their images all together and look super slick. To me this is madness, time consuming and honestly turns me off following someone. I am well aware that people’s lives aren’t even remotely like what they present on Instagram. I know X isn’t going to post a picture of that massive spot on her right cheek, or that family size bucket of KFC the Y tucked into last night. Z definitely isn’t going to post a picture of them crying after a massive argument with their partner. However, a lot of people aren’t aware of this and it seems to be contributing to mental health problems. People are now judging themselves and their lives against an unrealistic platform and when they inevitably fall short, there are mental repercussions.
One of the main problems is that it appears to have become cool to show off how much money you’re spending. I’m getting a little tired of all the *INSERT HIGH-STREET BRAND HERE* hauls I’m seeing on YouTube at the moment. They all have a shocked faced thumbnail and the video title; ‘I’VE SPENT HOW MUCH IN *INSERT HIGH STREET BRAND HERE*?!’ That’s not cool to me. That’s frivolous and crude. I also get the sneaking suspicion that everything gets sent back anyway; they just wanted some quick, video content.
Another fault I’ve found within the blogging/influencer community on Instagram is that it is constantly perpetuating the notion that people need to have the latest ‘IT’ item. Once you’ve seen 4 pictures of those chic influencers in Gucci loafers you start to think; you quite like them, then you see another 2 people wearing them and you start to think you want them, then you really want them, then you have to have them, then they are in your basket, then you’re £500 down and you now own a pair of shoes that you didn’t even want until you saw other people looking really cool in them. That’s the £500 you’d put away in your savings as an attempt to save to hopefully one day have a place of your own.
I’m entirely guilty of this! The amount of times I’ve seen an item on someone’s Instagram page and then gone on to buy it is countless. On the flip side to the scenario I’ve depicted above, it’s great to see what an item looks like on someone. I love the brands Topshop and Zara, but the models they use online aren’t relatable to my age or body size. Therefore, seeing an item I like on girls I’ve chosen to follow because I identify with them is much more beneficial to me. It’s become popular for brands to have an ‘as seen on…’ or similar section on their websites, showcasing bloggers wearing the items and I’m a massive advocate for this! It’s so helpful. I now rarely buy an item if I haven’t seen what it looks like on someone.
However, I’m now trying to stop myself buying as much. If assessed I’d probably be diagnosed as an addict! I get a buzz from clicking that pay now button and the anticipation of it arriving on my door step. Aside from that, I’ve decided that I don’t want to have the same items as everyone else does. The beauty of fashion is that it is meant to inspire individuality, not everyone wearing the same Zara jumper. I’m also stopping as part of my goals/resolutions for 2018, I really wanted to address my carbon footprint and a big role in that would be my fast fashion consumption. I'm constantly throwing away vast amounts of plastic packaging. Similarly identified by Chloe Plumstead. Moreover, every season I do a clear out and without fail I will pull out 2 or 3 items still with their tags on that I bought on a whim because I thought they looked cool on someone else, and then I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I couldn’t pull them off.
It may sounds like I’m completely bad mouthing the platform but Instagram also welcomes positives! As a long-time lover of fashion it’s a really quick and easy way to keep on top of trends, see them develop or help predict where they will go. It also is a great way to promote fledgling business or indeed self-promotion. I’ve also noticed small communities forming, particularly by using certain hashtags. Finally, people are supporting both the ‘little’ people and the Instagram juggernauts. There is absolutely no harm in liking a post on an account with 1.2million followers, but what about that account with 10k follows or even 1k followers? With the new Instagram algorithm in place, I can see people rallying to support those whose Instagram or blog is a hobby as opposed to a job to help get them seen. It takes 2 seconds to hit the like button or write a nice comment to give them a little boost. 
Ultimately, what I’m taking from all this is; being safe in the knowledge that nobodies life is as depicted on their Instagram (except maybe the Kardashian's…) they are showing the highs of their lives instead of the lows. I’m being selective in who I follow; no-more bronzed, beach babes, that make me feel bad about myself or anyone that never seems to wear the same outfit twice. I’m going to like/comment on every ‘small fish’ that I scroll past. However, I’m not going to equate my success or self-worth to likes. Finally, I’m going to stop buying so many bloody clothes! (Let’s see how that goes…) 

2 comments:

  1. This is fab and I definitely have a problem with owning to many clothes. I'm trying to identify more ways I can get that buzz without spending money. Yes some girls do work hard and they are passionate about fashion, which is fine. But more credit needs to go to people that have more to say. Everything seems so materialistic these days xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved reading this post, your honesty is so inspiring! I need to detach myself from social media and realise that it is only a highlights reel. I'm the worst for comparing :(

    ReplyDelete