Inauthentic Nature Of Social Media

Welcome back, kindred spirits.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I reflect so much. I have concluded that one reason, among some others, is because I value integrity and authenticity, which are becoming increasingly rare in our modern world.

We live in an era of social media. Of course, I recognize the value of social media, but it’s a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it’s an incredible platform for building connections and awareness as it’s been easier than ever to connect and network with people, to form communities with similar interests and hobbies, to access global news, to create awareness and exposure at zero-to-low costs for our businesses which completely changed the marketing landscape. I understand that what’s happening with technology in our current culture and society is just evolution, a cultural shift.

On the other hand, there is an underlying tone of inauthenticity and a lack of integrity with social media. It can be pretty one-dimensional. It’s based on users carefully curating images to portray their lives in a specific manner that may or may not accurately represent their real life and personality. Even the posts that depict struggles and challenges, meant to express vulnerability and authenticity, are planned.

Generally, when we see someone on social media that is physically attractive and living the ‘perfect life’ by society’s standard, we automatically assume that that person must have positive qualities like generosity, compassion and selflessness. The opposite is true as well. When we see someone who is not society’s typical standard of beauty, we tend to assume the worst of them. Is that not sad?

With more than four billion social media users trying to portray the ‘perfect life’, how can depression and anxiety not be at an all-time high? Social media gave rise to an era of constant comparison as we’re persistently bombarded by photos and videos of people’s ‘highlight reels’, causing us to feel like we aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough or productive enough.

But remember, comparison is the thief of joy.

Another aspect to consider is that though it’s been easier than ever to meet and connect with people, it seems as if it’s been harder to form and maintain deep and meaningful connections. Perhaps, a factor could be that as it has become effortless to meet people, most have the mentality of ‘look for better’. An additional element could also be due to social media’s superficiality; our judgmental human nature is becoming more apparent. In other words, it’s been easier than ever to form snap, and often inaccurate, judgments of others.

We could argue that people who post too much about their private lives aren’t happy.

We could argue that people who post too many sexualized photos don’t have inherent self-worth.

We could argue that people who post too many selfies and focus too much on their outer appearance seek external validation and has no depth to their character.

Those are all snap judgments that could be a far cry from the truth. Though it’s been said that a photo is worth a thousand words, is it possible to witness and understand the depth of a person’s character through images? I don’t think so.

Because I value integrity and authenticity, sometimes I feel conflicted about partaking in social media. And so, for the past month, I’ve been trying to find a balance. I’ve started limiting my social media consumption to primarily on my desktop, using it at specific times and for particular purposes such as a tool for digital marketing and data analytics.

I don’t particularly have a silver bullet conclusion as this post, and most of my posts, are explorations of ideas that may or may not be commonplace.

But, my two main hopes for you are:

  1. In this age of digital transformation and instant gratification, carve out time for space, stillness and reflection.
  2. Social media is a great tool, but don’t let it consume your life.

Stay strong,

Irene

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