Is Social Media Real?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Is social media real?
Since the whole Essena O'Neil shenanigans it seems the idea of social media being 'fake' hasn't left the internet or anyone's minds. I have been looking into social media and bloggers specifically for my university work and I have been so interested in the sheer amount of hatred people have for us because we are 'fake' and for social media because it's all just marketing and 'adding to capitalistic consumer culture' blah blah blah. But really, is social media all fake?

It is the year 2016, we are living in a world filled with advanced technology, where we can watch cat videos on a moving train and find out the lyrics to Hit Me Baby One More Time as we are sat in a field, it is the internet generation, the social media generation. Who doesn't have a Facebook page these days? My mum has one, my grandad has one, I am pretty sure I saw someone had made one for their dog last week. If you're not on social media you are out of the loop, if your phone is out of battery and you can't check the latest Twitter spat you get anxious.

Sure we may get the tuts, the sighs and the eye rolls from older generation, but in reality social media and the rise of the internet is not a negative movement and it shouldn't be seen as one. Like everything of course it has its flaws, but it is not bad in it's entirety .

But, I don't want to spend a post listing all the reasons I think the internet is good or why I love social media, I want to ask whether we really are living in an environment where people have alter egos posting away on their Twitters and Instagrams when in reality their lives are totally not as they appear and whether this is a bad thing? Is it fake to be selective of what you post?

Personally I can say I do have different personalities across different online platforms, with Facebook, I post less, I probably update my status once every two months, if that, I am trying to be better, but I'm not a Facebook fan (except my page, I update that all the time). Twitter I am always on, something funny happens, I post about it on Twitter, an intellectual deep thought, ask Twitter. Twitter is my go to and I am most comfortable being 100% me on there, everything I post is unfiltered and sometimes slightly strange. Instagram is all posing and perfectionism, I like my feed to look a certain way and try to keep it looking that way no matter what, whether that means not posting a photo I adore or posting a random staged mock up photo.

Is that wrong? Is it wrong I act differently according to the platform I use? I don't think so. With Facebook it's people you know in real life, it is family and old school friends, it's a slow feed most of the time and if you do post you probably feel like you're spamming if you post more than once in a day. You occasionally go on and write a life update or there is something you can't hold in and need to share, for me and a lot of others I know it is very filtered, you tend to pick and chose what you wish to post.

Is social media real? - heythererobyn's Twitter feed on iPad.


Twitter on the other hand is fast, it has a character limit and it is for everyone and anyone, very rarely are people's pages private and if they are it tends to be for a personal reason. You can interact with people halfway across the world, you can write a dozen posts in the once minute and it just blends into someone's feed. Twitter is great for PR, it's great for finding new people with similar interests, it's perfect for bloggers, celebrities and so on. It seems to be THE perfect way for people to be open, be themselves and not have to filter what they want to say. Had a dream aliens were going to abduct you and now can't sleep at 4am? That's cool talk to Twitter, someone is probably online unable to sleep too.

Instagram is different from both in the sense that is photos alone. From selfies to food photos to flatlays, nothing on Instagram is ever really unplanned and spontaneous whether you admit to it or not, I mean you took the photo in the first place, you were thinking ahead to posting it online most likely. You don't want a photo of you looking like you're half asleep on your feed or a photo where there is a underwear sat in front of you to be posted online for everyone to see, does that make it fake?

Advertising is fed into everything we do in life, it is all around us, from TV advertisements to product placements in the show, your laptop collects cookies from the sites you visit so it can advertise the sales to you, there are billboards, fliers, magazine and newspaper advertisement, is it so wrong that it's bred into social media? Is it wrong of me to be paid to put a photo of a mascara onto my Instagram? Am I fake for putting a promo code on my Twitter page?

It doesn't make people fake that they want to hide certain aspects of their lives nor does it make them fake that they chose to make money from their use of social media.

Social media isn't fake nor are the people behind them. Of course there is precise planning and placements, but do you bash on the Kardashian's because they talk about their stores on their show all the time? That's advertising. What about when movie characters drink their Fiji water? I mean that's product placement.

Just because 'normal' people are able to make money from what they love and care about the aesthetics of their social media accounts it does not mean they are fake or false. Until someone gives you the incline to assume that the products they endorse, they actually hate or the persona they have online is 1000% different to their real life one you have no reason to call them fake.

Social media is social media, it is something that yes you can make money from if you want, but you don't need to. It's fun, it's exciting and in the long run it doesn't matter. If it bothers you that I post perfectly planned, lighted photos of my favourite make up products on my Instagram you can unfollow me. If you think my bubbly, positive attitude on Twitter isn't really me, unfollow, it's not hard people.

Do you think I want to post Instagram photos of myself just awake with my hair everywhere? I mean if you want to then yay go you, but it's not me being fake, I am being selective. If I just want to post the positive aspects of my life it is because I want to remember them, I want to keep them sacred and I want to show people that I'm happy. Of course I don't want to post photos marking the days I feel insecure or upset, I don't want to remember them I want to move on with my life, is that bad? Does that make me fake? No it makes me human.

As long as people are open and honest, don't post a photo of you holding a detox tea you've never tried to sell it to your followers, or post about a lipstick you love that barely has any pigmentation. Tell the truth and disclaimers are the best way to stay out of trouble even using '#ad' in your endorsed Instagrams.

Okay, I think I've rambled and ranted enough. I forgot how much I adore doing these little ramble posts.

So, do you think social media is fake? Is it fake of people to only show what they want to on social media? 

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