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Social Media Isn’t Real

Recently I came across a Facebook post that a fellow graduate from my high school had written. In it she wrote about social media being an illusion. Even before reading her article, I have believed that social media may control us as consumers and that it also controls our minds in a harmful way. What really makes this terrifying is that more often than not social media is not real.

Let’s look at not only her article, but also the videos of Essena O’Neill, the Australian “Instagram model” that quit in November of last year because she couldn’t stand the “manipulation, mundanity and insecurity” they represented. Her candid photos turned out to be not so candid (as many girls and women know from their own ~candid laughing~ photos), and she hoped that in essentially turning herself in she was helping bring awareness to girls and women that looked up to and wanted to be like these famous “Instagram models.”

What is an Instagram model? This phrase is thrown around often in pop culture, from rap lyrics (Lil Wayne – Nothing But Trouble) to clothing (Kendall & Kylie). The Instagram model is an enticing brand that allows a woman or girl to gain followers and fake friends through portraying her life as fun, exciting, eventful and maybe even a little sexy on social media. In fact, you can apply to be an Instagram model for hundreds of companies. So why give up the free clothes, products and money?

You may think social media makes you happy, but unconsciously it makes you do things you otherwise wouldn’t do to gain popularity and a voice. I will open up about my own personal experiences with social media, most importantly Instagram. I may not have the most followers or likes on my photos and this used to be something I fretted over daily. What can I do to change this? I thought about posting racy photos or even following hundreds of people for the possibility some would follow me back. Ultimately, this need for friends and popularity is what has changed the game. Women and girls are starting to realize that fake life on social media is exactly this, fake life. Why are you posting that photo? So you can get hundreds of likes and a few comments? Maybe a DM? Social media is a game, and the goal is always winning. You can get famous overnight, sure go ahead and try, but what is the cost for being an “Instagram model?”

In the end it comes down to authenticity. I know there are many people out there that appear to be their authentic selves, but even those people are hiding things beneath the surface. This essentially is what social media promotes, surface appearance and feelings. On the surface you are happy and beautiful. Underneath, you want to crawl into bed and sleep for 15 years. These days women are complimented on their looks far more than anything else. So yes, go ahead and post that photo showing off your curves, but think again on why you are doing this. Being an Instagram model isn’t all it is chalked up to be, just go below the surface and you will see this too.  

See Chiara at her blog themillenialchiara.com – unfortunately her little bit on social media is on Facebook and not her blog, but she has some really cool insights. Essena doesn’t have a website or blog currently, but she has a Youtube post from November that could enlighten you more on her struggle and those of other women.  

Northern California Native and Boba Connoisseur. Communications Major, English Literature Minor at DePauw University '17. Current Director of Social Media for D3TV, DePauw's Student Run Television Network
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