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Why do we feel we have to be perfect on Social Media?

Social Media is a blessing and a curse.

When Social Media first came into being, it was all about staying in touch with people you know. Today, it’s evolved so much, that it’s multi-faceted. You have your friends and family as a part of your “followers”, but now you also have strangers who you might never ever meet. The higher the number of likes and follows, the greater the validation. Companies have realised that it’s the perfect marketing tool and influencers have been born. It’s been lucrative for both. It’s a platform where you can post exactly what you want people to see and know.

When I scroll through my Instagram feed, for example, I see pictures of gourmet meals and coffee foam art, perfect manicures and spa days with the girls in their white fluffy robes. I see sexy selfies, smiley selfies, serious selfies and even group selfies. I scroll through exotic locations and expensive purchases and while I have studied Social Media, and understand that it’s a highlights reel, even I sometimes get sucked into the snapshot of reality versus perception. I forget that the single square frame, snapshot, pose or scene is a filtered moment and not always the whole truth. No one lives their “Instagram life” all day, every day, so why are we trying so hard to project perfection?

I am guilty of it too. I find myself wanting to showcase only the happy moments and while I am lucky that there are many, I’m not exactly going to post a photo of me sick in bed, snotty and feverish. I’m not posting the times when I’m up at 2am with a baby who won’t go to sleep, or the time when I’ve just put on clean clothes, only to have it covered in sticky strawberry juice from a tiny little hand. However, after I’ve just had my hair done, you bet I’m posting a pic of my fresh colour and salon curls.

A friend of mine, Jo Lurie, started a movement called The Gram Sham and she encouraged people to: “Post something really real on Instagram. Whether it’s a selfie, a story, a picture of what you’re really going through, anything you choose to share. You’ll know your truth. Show us what’s real to you.”

How refreshing…How terrifying.

Yet, when I see authentic, honest posts I find myself drawn to them more than the beautifully curated pictures we see.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the beautifully curated shots, because there’s a lot of work that goes into those too, but perhaps if people were honest about that too, we’d appreciate them even more!

Seeing people share their truth is endearing. It’s human and empathetic. Had I posted the pics of me as an exhausted new mom, or the sticky strawberry top, I’d have 100s of mom’s identifying and feeling normal, while they scroll their Instagram feed still in their PJ’s and unwashed hair.

We need more of this to be reminded that life isn’t one highlights reel, it’s a smorgasbord of highs and lows, disappointments and successes, bad days and great days. I think posts should be a genuine reflection of gratitude and a projection of reality and not a thinly veiled attempt to boast.

Bailey

Bailey Schneider – Smile Drive Anchor, Weekdays 3pm-6pm Smile 90.4 FM

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