The Good, the Bad & the Ugly <br> Getting Real on Social Media
I recently had dinner with a friend who is concerned that her two young boys (ages 9 and 10) are rapidly approaching the age when the internet will be entirely accessible for them. I recalled the age when my three boys reached their teen years and the inevitable question surfaced: What is an appropriate age to, basically, hand over the world to these young minds in the form of a cell phone?” This is a loaded question. Trying to control the influence of the internet on young minds is like attempting to harness air with your hands. I completely understood my friend’s concern about the obvious reasons: cyberbullying, perverts and porn; just to name a few. And then the images....You know the ones: Extremely photoshopped, filtered and beautified. An entire generation is being fed a daily diet of extremely false images. Consider this: 85% of the photos on Facebook and Instagram are touched up. In the world of commercial advertising, the number goes up to 99%. As a population, we are steadily bombarded with perfected photos. To take it a step further: perfected photos of people’s perfect (false) lives.
C’mon people!!! Let’s get real. If anything, let’s do it for this generation of kiddos before they are influenced forever by this phony baloney. If I see one more frappuccino swirled with a foamy heart or vacation bragging….Look, I’m as guilty as the next person. If I’m having a great experience, I photograph and post it. However, before I post, I always check in with myself. Is this going to create envy? Is it boastful? In my Esthetic business, I attract a variety of people with very different demographics; from extremely wealthy to surviving month to month millennials. While doing treatments on them, I listen to a slew of opinions every day. A majority of them say that social media makes them feel pretty crummy about their lives. The consensus is that even though they’re aware that a lot of posts misrepresent the ‘posters’ actual life; it makes people see their own lives in a different light. I believe the original intent of social media was to help us feel more connected to one another, but it has taken a turn for the worse.
Ruthless self-exaggeration and altering of images is very common among Instagram “Influencers”. A lot of Influencers are coming out of the closet and revealing their unhealthy habit of slimming down waists, clearing skin and plumping up their flat butts. I appreciate that influencers are willing to reveal that everything in their photos is not always as flawless as it seems. We should all take a stand and stop this ‘fake life’ posting and get real. I believe that posting more honestly will attract people to you. Try it. Honesty is sexy! Authenticity brings people together!
Back to my concerned friend, Kim. She decided to start a new Instagram account named “Amomtransparentcy”, where she boldly posts photos of real messes in her life. She inspired me, not only to write this blog but to do the same. After our dinner, I scanned through Kim’s feed and located a shockingly real post. One of the best I’ve ever seen, really. The top picture is of her ‘Ideal Self’ – a pretty sunny shot of her followed by the text: My Journey of Discovery through Transparency; followed by ‘My Real Self’ next to a photo of a facial chemical peel treatment that didn’t go as planned, her face charred, black and burnt. “She’s serious,” I thought. Like REAL serious. I admired her bravery! It was contagious. When I woke up the next morning, I immediately grabbed my phone and took a photo of my sleepy swollen headed self. “Oh jeez…where ARE my eyes?! I can’t post this!!! What if my arch nemesis from high school sees it??! Okay, Lori, calm down. Nobody cares!!! And remember…you’re doing this for future generations! Authenticity is in! But wait….remember the Leslie Jones incident?! Somebody may make a snide comment. But I gotta be ME, damnit! Do it in the name of posting with no filter! Brave this battle for the people!!!!” (By the way, there is a difference between being authentic and being just plain stupid. Don’t post anything that’s going to get you fired from your job he he). Although I’ve always been pretty transparent while posting: my three man-children’s lives, my husband’s work as an actor, my sweet-faced dog, the succulents I planted today…it actually felt pretty good to put the real ME on the internet. Maybe Kim’s right. We all need to reveal the Good, the Bad and the Ugly to the world if we are all to get more comfortable with an honest presence on the social media. After all, the internet’s not going away anytime soon. Wouldn’t it be great if: instead of feeling distant and competitive (because of false images); people actually felt close and empathetic toward each other because we all made a shift of awareness and became more transparent?
I think of the internet as a small galaxy in outer space and envision the text scroll in the beginning of Star Wars.
In a galaxy far far away….a vast and infinite frontier possesses the power to influence all of our senses. Its capacity to enthrall, enchant and terrify us is an overwhelming force. This GALACTIC EMPIRE can crush confidence and induce depression.
Look, this isn’t a social media bashing blog. It’s just a topic that deserves to be addressed. I’m totally aware of the good that stems from the internet and social media. It is all about balance!
So. If you’ve read this far into the blog, thank you for listening to my rant. Here’s the rub. If you’re looking for a blogger that gushes over $3000 handbags, I’m not that girl. I’m more likely to gleefully post a treasure I’ve located at TJ Maxx or a resale shop. Just sayin’. Although I am going for a (long awaited for) trip to Paris, I will not post staged photos of myself in designer clothes, propped up on a flower cart in Champ De’ whatever. There are plenty of people out there posting that fluff. Who ARE those people, anyway?? If, however, you’re looking to follow a real person who’s willing to share outstanding skin care advice, real girl fashionista tips, delicious recipes AND the Good, the Bad & the Ugly...I’m your girl.