I think it’s safe to say that we have all come across an Instagram page or Tumblr profile that is “on point.” But what is it that actually makes pages and posts so appealing to the viewer? Social media has intertwined with our lives so much today that it is habitual to check our phones. I could probably find your ex-boyfriend’s neighbour’s aunt’s Instagram faster than I could tie my own shoe. However, there is a philosophy buried underneath the impulse to constantly check social media.
The word “aesthetic” is often associated with thematic Instagram pages, but the term actually dates back to the early eighteenth century. It is a philosophical concept that works to explain what beauty actually is, and how it is judged. Aesthetic value is deemed based on one’s experience and feelings provoked by an object or piece of art. To put into millennial terms: beauty lies within the eyes of the liker. The use of aesthetics on apps such as Instagram make social media that much more consuming. Aesthetic appeal produces an actual feeling for the viewer which makes scrolling through pictures more of a personal experience. Sometimes you may not be fully aware of the captivating effect that Instagram aesthetics have on you.
It can consume the way we portray ourselves on social media and wanting to produce the perfect image of our own lives. Instagram bloggers rely on commonly liked aesthetics to create an appealing page, which in turn has misguided viewers into perceiving other people’s lives as an aesthetic of its own. By glamorizing their lives through their profiles the concept of “goals” has produced and inspired others to want to achieve an appealing lifestyle. The problem created here is that people are often misinterpreting page aesthetics for people’s lifestyle. Thus a cycle of social media consumption is formed. It is out of our control to be drawn towards something that appeals to us. However, the influence of aesthetics on viewers today cannot fully explain why we are on social media as much as we are. Although beauty and appeal can easily be found through scrolling on apps, if can be found around us as well. It is important to understand the hold that social media can have on us, and how we can connect with other things and forms of art around us if we just look up for an extra minute.