Ah, the internet. One of the greatest inventions in the world. The thing that keeps you in contact with distant relatives that you actually don’t like, the thing that provides you entertainment in the form of watching people do cringey dances in short 10 second videos, and the thing that birthed social media.
Now everyone knows of social media and how it affects people’s lives; one thing that comes up in conversation about the affects of social media is how many brain cells do we lose when hearing about that Jake Paul guy. Or in reality, how fake social media can be, presenting your life in a certain way that makes it seem like you’re living your best life and that you’re the best around, and nothing is ever going to get you down.
We all, for the most part, are guilty of only portraying ourselves in a certain way on social media. We don’t want those hideous shots of ourselves that make us look as sexy as 99 year old stripper, or as huge as a hot air balloon, to be shown to the masses. We don’t want people to see us at our saddest times. We don’t want people to see our insecurities and fears. We don’t want to show off the difficulties we have in life. For the most part, people don’t want to share certain personal things online, which is fine, it’s your right to do so if you please. It’s understandable not wanting to share your deepest fears. But creating this character that we only show online isn’t 100% real, and can lead to some toxicity and can hurt our mental health.
The toxic nature stems a lot from the comparison culture and sort of one upping. We scroll through social media feeds and see all these gorgeous people and wonder where they are in the world, since all you see around your area is big Bertha and her junkie husband cutting about in their finest Lonsdale gear. Instagram is the absolute worst for these gorgeous looking people cutting about the app, posting all these ‘flawless’ photos and gaining thousands of followers and admirers purely because of their looks (and some grafting). Now there’s no problem with being one of these ‘Instagram models’ and flaunting your looks, unless you become really narcissistic and grow a huge ego from it like quite a few people do, the big problem is the audience who spend ages comparing themselves to these gorgeous looking people.
Comparing yourself to others, especially the people we marvel at online, isn’t a good thing for us, but it’s not an easy thing to simply not do. All we can do is try. People need to remember that what you see of that person who seems like they’re having the best life possible or have these incredible looks, is that you are not seeing the whole picture. You don’t see the struggles they face in their daily lives. You don’t see them getting stressed out over how to pay rent for the month. You don’t see the mental health struggles they could be going through. You don’t see them rip their 9th pair of tights in that week. You only see what they want you to see and for most people it’s relatively easy to do that.
For the most part, it’s easy to post things online to show how great your life is. It’s easy to show you’re having a good time. It’s easy to only show the positives in your life. Only showing off your best life or what you want people to see of you can be as easy as devouring a duty free Toblerone bar when you’re stoned.
For some people it’s not easy though. Pretending everything is amazing and you’re full of big dick energy can actually be quite difficult. To hide everything that’s going on and pretend you’re as happy as everyone else makes out to be can be as challenging as finding out the circumference of a circle, when you haven’t done maths since you were 16. Yet despite the difficulty, we still do it. We still try so hard to hide everything we’re really feeling and only show a certain narrative for everyone to see. Regardless of how painful it may be and how it can damage our mental state, we still do it. And it’s easy to see why.
We don’t want people to worry about us. We don’t want people to be concerned. And we also don’t want people to dislike us and decide to unfollow us for not joining in the narrative of ‘look at how amazing life is’. What we should be doing is being real. Most people claim they’re real online but they are really not.
At all times we should be real and if we decide to be more on the depressive side online then it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. We’re human and all have these amazing yet awful things known as emotions, and showing on the internet that you have more emotions than just the positive ones doesn’t make you an awful downer of a person. It shows your humility.
I personally believe you should be real at all times, regardless of the outlet. It’s ok to not be ok and post about it online, for some people using an outlet like Twitter or Medium to write about their emotions and how they’re feeling is good for their mental clarity, and is a way for them to get things off their chest; if people chose to read it then that’s their choice. You don’t have to post everything that goes on in your life, and you cannot share everything online, but when you do, be real.
Swankie – 24, Scotland. Loveable Loser.