Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Social Media Effect: Are We Really What We Portray Online?

Are we really who we think we are? The image that we project on social media? The idyllic canvas on the Facebook wall that garner likes from friends, acquaintances and even the strangers? Nowadays it isn’t uncommon during conversations that we make a mention of someone whom we haven’t met in a long time, but have been familiar with her/his life through online posts, and jumping into conclusions about them based on that.

As we know, perception is everything; especially in the world of social media. In terms of perception, we all have an ideal self. We all wish to maximize our careers, our profession, and aspire to be like those whom we find most successful. As the use of social media continues to evolve; the concept of presenting our ideal selves versus our real selves has become more and more prevalent on social media platforms viz. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and even LinkedIn.
We make an assumption on someone’s life being close to perfect — a woman who seems to have it all together, with her perfect family pictures that exude sunshine and smiles. Let's say Facebook or any other platform serves as a benchmark, but in a lot of cases it is indeed misleading.
After Jesus Christ, Mark Zuckerberg has sort of divided time into two, with Facebook making a significant impact on sociopolitical and personal sphere. The other platforms are also doing their bit. The world is always in constant flux, but social media has accelerated that change; our lives have become so interconnected in the cyberspace, where we leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs that can be used to trace our indelible footprints.
All for the same reason, people have become increasingly conscious when it comes to projecting an image out there for others to see, an ideal image which often do little justice to the real. The pressure isn’t just about putting up the perfect pictures, we all are, in some way or other, forced to project a flawless version of our true selves, showing only the edited parts — that person whom we think we are, against what we really are.
Social media is where our alter ego thrives, cashing in on the advantages of self promotion, and on that arena, we are politically correct, sagacious and chivalrous.
That man who calls himself a feminist and vehemently opposes patriarchy with his vitriolic posts maybe in real have to be reminded of doing his laundry or dishes; a person who seems to be celebrating life on facebook maybe struggling with depression, or someone’s perfect family photos serve as a pall over their stultifying marriage.
Even an abusive person’s profile would talk otherwise. On the contrary, someone with a vapid profile probably be having an exciting life.
On social media, we can find contradictions in galore. Not all of us are manipulative psychopaths with ulterior motives; dissembling the truth isn’t a crime and people have their own reasons to maintain that complacent picture for others to see.  
Still, it’s naive to compare your life with that of the hundreds of ‘friends’ whose lives flash before you on your timeline. Those glimpses and anecdotes shouldn’t make you covet a life that’s alien to you or judge someone. Likewise, it’s pointless to yield to the pressure and put up a facade so as to get approval from others. Life’s fleeting moments are meant to be enjoyed than being stressed about capturing them perfectly in a frame.

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