If only everything was as good as it looked on social media, we’d all be living the dream.
We don’t have to tell you twice that 90 per cent of what you see on social media is an embellished facade. But we do feel the need to remind you, especially in the wake of Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year) and next week’s Bell’s Let’s Talk Day.
‘Cause it’s easy to feel “less than” when all your social media friends are living their picture perfect, very “likeable” lives.
And you’re probably guilty of making something look a lot better than it actually was more than once yourself, complete with the humblebrag.
Actually, we know you are. Out of 20 Toronto young professionals surveyed, 18 admitted to manipulating the reality of a situation on social media.
But it wasn’t too long into Instagram’s existence that we began calling out the fakers. As you may have heard (or followed), last spring, an anonymous user created an Instagram account called “You Did Not Eat That,” calling out people (mostly models and wannabe models) who clearly didn’t eat the plate of doughnuts, bacon, cheese-packed triple-decker burger, or massive ice cream sundae they so proudly posed with.
Though the account has been criticized for publicly “skinny shaming” women (in some cases, perhaps they did devour the entire thing, even if it was the one time in their life they’d ever do so), it serves as just another reminder that most of what we “like” on social media is far from reality.
We are increasingly constructing a life of how we would like to be perceived by people, free from all the daily annoyances, sporadic meltdowns, wardrobe malfunctions, and disappointments that make us human.
In many cases, it’s about as realistic as a story in The National Enquirer.
As easy as it is to filter out all the less-than-ideal parts of our days, weekends, and vacations, we can also create completely fake experiences all together – all for a few cheap “likes” and an ego boost. All it takes is the click of a smart phone camera, the stealing or manipulating of an image, and a convincing (and hopefully witty) caption.
Want to take a fake a vacation? Simple. Just ask the Dutch girl who faked a trip to Southeast Asia, duping her friends and family into thinking she’d gone on a 5-week journey without ever leaving Amsterdam. In reality, 42 days worth of social media shots were the result of an artistic eye combined with some above average Photoshop skills. She didn’t do so because she’s crazy, she did so to prove how simple it was to manipulate reality.
You could even fake an entire relationship if you wanted to…who would ever know you sent yourself those flowers and chocolates? Or that cute shoe shot of your matching Chucks was really taken with your brother or sister and not your significant other?
Want to fake a night out when you couldn’t be lonelier? Get your concierge to take a picture of yourself all dressed up even though you have nowhere to go and are in for a night of Swiss Chalet delivery and Netflix. Then steal a generic looking shot off the social media hashtag of the party that you only wish you were invited to.
Want to look like a baller? Stay at a motel and take pictures at the Ritz-Carlton over a lunch you can barely afford, making it innocently seem like you stayed there. If you want to fake your friends into thinking you’ve become an A-lister overnight, follow the footsteps of this mommy blogger who faked being at the Clooney wedding in Venice back in the fall.
It’s not rocket science.
Yet, why do so many of us still buy into the filtered façade of other people’s lives on social media, then feel shitty about our own lives, jobs, relationships, and bodies? If we’re so quick to point out Photoshop on models, why are we faking our own lives, filtering so much more of it than an Instagram photo?
If we just described you; you’ve got yourself a homework assignment this weekend; last year, an overdue and eye-opening short film, What’s On Your Mind, called out Facebook users for fake status updates in everything from their personal lives (or lack thereof) to workplace successes. “Facebook can be depressing because everyone else’s lives are better than yours,” the description of the video on YouTube reads. “But are they really?”
We suggest you watch it – and maybe even ‘like’ it too.
Cover photo from: istock.com/TatyanaGl