Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. I use them all, obsessively. I think in hashtags (I sometimes speak in them too) and every photo is taken with an Instagram filter in mind.
I share my life on social media. Or rather, an edited version of it. If you believe my Instagram page, I live in a Amaro-tinted world of tea, good hair days and prettily clad feet. Whilst my Facebook page is largely reserved for photos and updates of The Toddler, my Twitter followers are subjected to a barrage of (hopefully) mildly amusing observations, designed to elicit a chuckle and more importantly, the coveted retweet. I put my best side out there for all to see, but why? I want people to like my photos, tell me I’m pretty, laugh at my jokes and covet the lifestyle I portray. Affirmation. Approval. Respect.
But this affirmation actually means very little in reality. What my social media feeds don’t show are the bad hair days, the (hundreds of) selfie outtakes, the mundane reality of everyday life, the stresses. So people might like that carefully posed for photograph, which has been filtered into attractiveness; but that doesn’t mean they’ll like me first thing in the morning, in the cold light of day, without a scrap of makeup on. Liking a photo doesn’t necessarily mean they like you. Although, it can make it feel that way. Which is perhaps the point.
Then there are the people you follow; the celebrities, the girls you want to look like, the bodies you covet, the lifestyles you try (and fail) to replicate. My Instagram feed simultaneously inspires and depresses me. It’s a place that makes me want to better myself, but makes me feel inadequate for needing – or wanting – to do so. It makes me want to be the pretty girl, but with a few ‘likes’ makes me feel like maybe I already am.
Last week, a tweet I wrote (hastily, and off the cuff) gained a bit of attention when it was picked up by an online newspaper (The Daily Star – stay classy, folks). I suddenly gained a load of new followers, and traffic to this blog rocketed. For a few hours, I felt *whispers it* famous… I was buzzing from the attention. Even though I had done little to nothing to deserve it. A daft, throw away remark, that dozens of girls probably made at the same time, just happened to be stumbled upon. It’s almost like a microscopic version of Reality TV – everyone can have their 5 minutes of fame, regardless of any talent. And do you know what? I enjoyed the short lived attention I received, and the fact that I had contributed something to the world that day – however trivial it was. If that was my 5 minutes of fame, I’ll take it. Even if it is tinged with a slight, undefinable feeling of shame.
So, do I have mixed feelings about using social media? Do I have concerns that maybe it isn’t healthy for my self esteem? Sure. Will I carry on using them? Of course.
Tweet you later. SB X
(P.S. if you want to check out my Instagram, maybe like a few pictures, I won’t complain – @joanna__sarah )