We are living in the world where many of us start and finish a day by checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other blogs. It may sound like hyperbole, but some people seem like treating social media more important than money in their wallets. Why spending an hour on social media feels like a minute? Well, you all know, it’s quite fun to scroll down and cruise through various pages. You see one friend traveled to Bali to go surfing, another friend went to a new Italian restaurant in downtown with a lover, and another worked out to show off his abs and biceps with a hashtag #MotivationMonday. Everyone seems to be so happy to enjoy their daily life on social media.
“Low Battery: 10% of battery remaining” Running out of battery, you plug a phone to charge, and finally let yourself out of the social media world. While lying on a bed and staring at a ceiling, you start to think: Why am I in my bedroom on this beautiful sunny day when everyone is having fun out there? You suddenly become miserable and depressed. To deal with such melancholy, you take a selfie and put it on your Instagram with a hashtag #MundaneMonday. As you get a few likes, it feels like others care about you and pay attention to what you do on Monday. The world seems just beautiful again. However, none of them actually contacts you to come out. All they do is double tapping your selfie, showing the best form of love they can give you online. Even worse, you don’t know many of those gave you likes. They are followers whom never ever seen in your life. There comes only one person actually sending you DM, asking “Do you want to go out for a dinner?” It’s your friend who said she was surfing at Bali. You go back to her Instagram and find out a hashtag #MemoryMonday.
Social media in fact is a platform in which you can selectively reveal yourself to others. And, it is a medium that encourages you to choose the appearance that you want to show. We all want to show off our own presence, and we always control what we’re exposed to. Anyone can release their stories and glimpse the lives of others. Hence, the internet is a very attractive base for manipulation. This is because you can wrap yourself up with images and writing that are far more appealing than your own in the real world, leading to a lot of attention from others that are impossible in reality. With the anonymity of the internet and the ease of connecting with the masses, and the expressive methods that they provide, they can tailor the new self to their desires and promote it to the masses and acquaintances through social media platforms.
Have you heard of Essena O’Neill? Having over a million followers on YouTube and Instagram, an Australian teenager was real famous on the internet back in 2015 (I found about her while researching an example for this blog post). She suddenly deleted over 2,000 photos and videos that she has uploaded to send a clear message of how fake the popularity and communication via social media has been for her. She confessed that as the number of followers grew, she naturally craved more people’s attention every time they have a great number of clicks. Furthermore, the communication through social media was only because of the obsession with her figure and appearance and the compulsion to display what ‘she wanted to be’ rather than ‘real herself.’
Sometimes, not only the identity but also interactions are not genuine on social media. You can see the reaction that appears in seconds without distinguishing between night and day. With that, you are relieved of loneliness for a short time. You get that sense of comfort thanks to people whose faces have never been seen and voices have never been heard. To some extent, trust, happiness, and power do not come from myself on social media. It is rather determined by the friends who have a relationship with me. The number of “likes” is the happiness index of the day. As a result, if you provide ‘ like ‘ to someone, a kind of tacit trading relationship is formed. It is largely because human instinct constantly wants to be cared for by others who think about themselves. At the same time, human beings are not so rational, but they can sincerely grieve at the misery of others, but they are hard to rejoice in the happiness of others. The happiness of others is often the coming of my misery.
What is your “identity” on social media? We all try to create an identity in our own ways without knowing it. You can also change your profile photos frequently, only with photos of the great places you have been to. You follow a variety of people that you don’t know in real life just to get a follow in return. To get a number of followers, you pretend to be the happiest person in the world while working hard to hid negative side of you. Perhaps, the desire for identity has created the rate of diffusion of social media at the moment is not exaggeration. If so, how can you create a true identity? Is there a recipe for creating online identity?
Remember, Essena said this.
“Our lives are beautiful enough that even without social media and followers, I don’t have to compare me with another.”