Realistic: The Impact of Social Media

This is not a usual beauty and fashion post, but I needed to rant (after all, you guys listen to me ranting about beauty and fashion products) about an issue that has been circulating instagram, facebook, twitter, tumblr and the news; the impact of social media and the “degree” to which individuals portray themselves for fame and fortune.

Personally, this is right up my alley. I want to study the impact of Social Media and the Digital era in university (a branch of Media and Communications) and there is nothing more I love than reading about individuals’ views on this particular issue.

In recent news, instagram star and vlogger, Essena O’Neill addresses the issue that individuals are deemed “fake” when using forms of social media, saying that through editing photos, people are living a lie. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a powerful message and does, to some degree, ring true for me. I mean; everyone edits his or her photos. With the like of instagram, which is one of the biggest photo sharing platforms, individuals create a reputation that can be shared to the masses. ‘Photographic Art’, as it is called, needs to be of a high quality standard to attract an audience (or a ‘like’), however, many posts can be inspirational and appealing, not only uploaded for the likes or the followers.

One could also say that a woman wearing make-up is also a “lie” because she is simply ‘enhancing her natural features’, similar to what individuals do in photographs. (Photoshop is a different issue entirely- I’m talking minimal changes with photos here).

I enjoy using social media, sure, it can be one of the biggest devices for procrastination (as everyone in their final year of school will tell you, it is a black hole), however, I have also been able to express myself through all forms (instagram, tumblr, facebook etc. etc.) and have my views heard. I mean, I’m writing about one of them now through this post! The only problem with social media is that people tend to have an inward focus of “if I don’t get enough likes, I am not popular enough”, which all boils down to the psychology of popularity and the social pressures of beauty/masculinity.   Social Media has also had many, many benefits and has shaped the way we think and learn. For instance, when travelling abroad, social media has been one of the key aspects in maintaining contact with my loved ones – posting photos on facebook (or communicating through messenger), uploading on instagram or simply writing a blog post, all allows people to be in contact with me. Sure, every once in a while, I enjoy disconnecting from social media on a “digital detox” (it’s not like I am on it all the time anyway- there are so many hours in the day, and most of them are spent exploring the world I live in), but for the most part, one can live in harmony with social media, and still have time to live their life. It only becomes a problem when you let it control you.

Followers themselves, only mean they enjoy the content that you post. How many people follow me on instagram does not define my worth as a person, simply, they just enjoy the content that I post and the photos that I upload- simple as that. Just because I edit my photos (I use vsco cam for most of them, as well as using a professional camera in some cases) doesn’t mean I am living “a lie”. Sure, I may enhance the saturation of a photo or experiment with different filters, but the intention behind the photo is still there. When shooting for my blog, for example, I try and get the best angles and the most natural lighting for my photographs, because I want it to be visually appealing. That doesn’t mean that I am ‘living a lie’ because I want it to be the most appealing for my followers (simply, I am thinking of what you guys want to see and how I can appeal to you- although I do enjoy shooting/writing/blogging about the things that I post!)

All areas of social media do not seem to be slowing down. Put purely, social media has just grown and transformed into a larger section of societies daily lives. Originally, the forms of “social media” were the newspapers, television and email, where individuals could be kept up to date with the daily news. Nowadays, people are allowed more access into the personal lives of others and can be reached through instagram, facebook, skype, all forms of emails, blogs and the like (or writing letters- that’s still a thing!).

* sigh * rant over. Long story short: as much as one can say to ‘disconnect’ forever from social media and the digital era, I view it is too engrained in societies daily life to be completely and utterly removed.

I’ll be back to my usual posts next week guys!
X Lizzie

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