What does social media actually mean to us as a society?
So, I’ve just finished watching Fake Famous. Has anyone watched this? Goodness me. Check out the trailer below…watch it if you get a chance.
About 6 years ago, I deleted my Instagram account. I had about 3000 followers, which was a lot for me and what i believed was my pretty average life. I worked for a ‘health-based drinks’ company and we had been working with influencers to generate content for us. As a by-product, I became obsessed with my Instagram following and hoping that people would like what I was posting. I used to spend a lot of time in London attending wellness events and would post all about the things that we were doing as a company, the people that I was meeting and this ‘great’ life that I was living. It wasn’t really that great – I spent so much time away from home, my relationships were strained and cared more about getting the right photo than I did about seeing my family and friends. The travelling took it’s toll however and I decided to move to a company closer to home.
I ended up working for KitchenAid and because of that, I was able to go to amazing places to eat and again meet some ‘influential’ people. People who I perceived to be influential because their social media following was huge – in real terms a lot of those people were actually quite cold, rude and continuously on their phone and…never really in the moment.
When it came to my own social activity, I found myself feeling agitated when I didn’t get likes and I caught myself feeling so upset after I had spent ages creating a look or picking out an outfit, to then only get a few hundred likes. What I couldn’t get in my head though was that those few hundred people actually liked what I was doing… but what I wanted was more followers because I wanted to be seen as someone important.
Then I DELETED my account and felt liberated. It was freeing. I was no longer trying to create a lifestyle that I thought people would care about and instead was focusing on what made me happy. In 2017, I started a new account and I kept it private – it was to document my travelling experience, a diary for me more than anything and to this day, that account is still private and I’ve got 156 followers and I follow 130 of those people. These are all people that I know (majority of them are my family) and I feel so happy when I get an interaction from one of them – quite simply because what they think actually matters to me because they care about me and what I do. They know me as a person, they’ve interacted with me and they have a relationship with me. I probably post once or twice a month if that.
(My Artiscado Instagram account is my platform to share about a topic that matters to many of us and it’s an opportunity for me to raise awareness and be part of the community to try and create change – it’s a collective effort, it’s not about me, it’s about the world in which we live and the way we choose to live in this world.)
After watching Fake Famous, it just reminded me how inherently dangerous social media can be, the constant need to compete and the constant need to feel validated by the way others see us. I think my jaw was wide open for most of that show – fake photo shoots, using toilet seats to create the illusion of being on an aeroplane, posing in IKEA and pretending that you’re in Thailand, buying followers and comments. That’s not real, we’ve lost our grip on reality if that is what is important to us?
But then I remembered The Social Dilemma.
I thought about how these platforms are designed to draw us in and make us feel addicted to them. We’re conditioned to need them, so no wonder we’re now obsessed with being influential on them too. Then you think about the money and how much some of these influencers can make and how much the social networks make from advertising revenue… you realise once again, that a platform that is designed to be social, ‘connection’ at the heart of what it offers, is actually commoditising us… and that makes me feel very vulnerable.
Would be good to hear your thoughts on this?