While out with a friend, I joked that she needed an Instagram account so I could tag her in my pictures and so it would be easier to stay in touch. She responded with a long rant about why it was pointless to document every aspect of your life on social media, because what was significant about showing the entire world the latte you had for brunch? I wasn’t sure why her reaction annoyed me so much at the time, but the more I think about it, this is the general attitude of many people.
We live in a society heavily documented, excessively filtered, and focused on the like-to-minute ratio. Ten minutes have passed – only six likes? Delete it while you’re behind. Thirty likes and five comments in fifteen minutes – this one’s a keeper. I mean you bought that cute new romper and those reflective sunglasses for a reason. Pics, pics and more pics. Nothing gains quite the following like a brightly lit photo with just the right VSCO filter. However, social media has become a little taboo, mostly because people attribute it to the “me, me, me” generation, and how self-absorbed we seem to be. You would think there are worse things to do than to post a picture of your avocado toast.
There’s a whole bitter argument that social media is basically a platform for insignificant people to overshare about their insignificant lives. If this is true though, isn’t it a somewhat positive thing that we are doing? Isn’t it kind of cool that we can acknowledge that we are significant, and that others are significant by looking at or listening to the things they want to say? Maybe I’m digging in too deep, but maybe I’m not. Sure, my selfie may not catch Zac Efron’s attention and my salad may not be gourmet enough for Anthony Bourdain, but I’m feeling myself, I’m enjoying my life, and I’m getting something out of the little things in life. Underneath the so-called superficiality of social media, there’s something pretty great. Those bitter people may be right: The fact that you got a new boyfriend, were finally reunited with your friend from back home, or got the perfect photo-op so your Instagram feed can be color-coordinated (I know I’ve done this) – these things may not be important to the world, or even in the long run, but someone is excited for you, someone is proud of you, and someone wishes you well.
My selfies don’t always document some significant life event, and people may argue that selfies are a little narcissistic – and they’re somewhat right about that too. It is a little narcissistic. We take pictures of our own faces and post them for other people to see. There’s also nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong with being confident? Or being excited about how your makeup looks? Sure, a picture of me with a coconut iced coffee isn’t going to achieve world peace, but I like it, so why does that matter? So much of the negativity surrounding millennials and social media comes from the idea that none of what we do in that realm “positively contributes” to the rest of the world. It doesn’t really seem to consider that some things can just be for us, for our own amusement or boost in self-confidence, and not necessarily for some “greater good.”
So, remember to take plenty of pictures and feel empowered to post them on social media as much or as little as you’d like. And may your selfies always have the best lighting.
P.S peep the insta! @kierarodgerss