Do you ever wonder about the reality of a person behind their online persona?
Isn’t it strange that we ‘follow’ people online. One day, we just accidentally stumbled across them on instagram. We clicked ‘follow’ because they looked pretty cool, and over the months and years and endless scrolls on something like Instagram, we begin to recognise them: where they’re from, where they holiday, their significant others, their pets, their style… and we almost feel like we know them and what kind of person they are. But in reality, how much can you actually gauge about a person from their online persona?
The old saying goes that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but that’s basically what we do continually now, every single day, wether that’s on tinder or Instagram. We make automatic assumptions based on people’s image, but is everyone really the way they like to portray themselves? (DEF NOT)
There’s definitely people on instagram that I follow solely because I aspire to their lifestyle. There’s one girl who has been then envy of me and my gal pals for quite some time, but while everything looks rosy from the offset, you have to wonder what is actually going on behind their online façade. Who even takes their pictures? Do they hire people for that? Is that a thing? If they hire someone, how much does the person get paid??? Or have they got some poor significant other who is basically a lackey?
Even though people may know lots of things about your ‘projected’ life, there’s so many people out there who don’t even know what your voice sounds like, or how tall you are. You can’t tell these things from a photo. We might not know what kinds of personality traits a person has, but often we can assume. And assume is what we do.
If you could find out what people REALLY thought of your online persona, would you want to know? After all, what you don’t know can’t hurt you… but what we THINK we know, can drive us crazy. “Her life is just so perfect.” “He is always at cool events.” “They’re permanently on holiday!” “Her body is amazing, I want to look like that.” . But how can you really be sure that someone’s life is all that it seems? You just have to take a look at the amount of “fitspo” pages online nowadays. Everyman and his dog claims to be a personal trainer or nutrition expert. But are they really what they claim? Did they put in the work at university and college to get the valid credentials? Or did they just spend hours in the gym and got buff, and now want to share their knowledge, as well as rack up a following with hopes of becoming the next Joe Wicks? And that’s just the fitfam pages.
What about all the make up gurus? Can we really always be sure that they are naturally as beautiful as they make out? Or is it all filters, contours and behind the scene surgeries and fillers? How do they even afford all the products? Are they all crippled by low self esteem? Or are they super confident and that’s why they don’t smile in their pictures.
I always question wether people who are popular ‘online’, are as popular IRL*? If they spend so much time being active on social media, then where do they fit in the time for their friends and family, or their hobbies. (I’m not going to lie, I have a ton of free time and a blog is a hobby for me.)
During my travels in Asia, I have seen groups of people buy plates and plates of food. They then take several (okay – more like hundreds) of photographs with aforementioned feast, and the ironic part here, is that they then barely touch the food, sending back entirely untouched plates. What’s the joy of posting on social media about the great meal you had if you never actually ate it? What a waste of time, energy and money in my opinion, and for what? To prove to a bunch of strangers who you don’t know, and who don’t care about you (or wether or not you enjoyed your meal), just to prove your popularity, worth and value in ‘likes’. There are literally people starving and dying in the world!!!
Social media is a topic that I discuss more than the average person probably should. BUT, I just believe that it is having such a monumental impact on society today, that it deserves to be acknowledged.
There are people BANKRUPTING – yes, this is extreme, but there have been a few known cases – themselves in order to show off on things like social media. Paying for exotic holidays and cars, designer clothes and handbags, with money that they don’t actually have, all just to look like something they’re not.
What about the real people behind the façade? I’m not saying that we need to publicly show all our failures and sad stuff, but surely every now and again, it’s okay to let the mask drop and just show everyone that we are not really as cool as we appear on the internet, and that this revelation is 110% ok. We might never know that each other have a lot more in common, (other than the same taste in interiors and breakfast foods) unless we actually share some other parts of ourselves, and what a shame that is, to follow someone’s life so closely and yet know barely anything about the real person.
Then again, is that why we do it? We want to appear to be something we are not, as a way to escape the mundane routine of everyday normal life? To look like we are living our lives to the fullest while also being the coolest?
So here’s some realness for you. Tonight, I spent the evening clearing out my wardrobe and scrubbing all of my trainers with my Jason Markk cleaning kit, whilst sitting on my bathroom floor listening to old songs. I wore mismatched PJs with cosy Christmas socks, and had to fend off my vicious cat throughout the entire operation. I then ate dulce du leche* straight out of the tub with a teaspoon (maybe it was a tablespoon…), and cursed myself as a greedy cow literally seconds afterwards because I’ve got some sort of social event at the weekend which requires me to be at a beach in my bathing suit and also, who eats dulce de leche out of the tub. And right after I write this, I’ll go to bed with my book. I am SO rock and roll. Not one part of my night tonight looked cool and IG worthy. Not even my home made chilli was worthy of an IG post.
I think it’s high time we all removed our rose tinted glasses, and stopped comparing ourselves and our lives to the glossy ones that crop up on our feeds. We need to start realising that everyone is just fronting and putting forward their finished edits, whilst sweeping their blooper reels under the carpet. It’s okay to not be out every night, and it’s okay to have ‘just’ cereal for breakfast. It’s okay to not contour your face, and it’s okay to not go to the gym every day. It’s okay if your dog isn’t a cute pedigree, and it’s okay if your holidays aren’t spent in places like the Maldives and Mykonos. It’s okay if you don’t get a table at a club with sparklers in your champagne, and it’s okay if nude lipstick makes you look like a corpse. It’s okay if you don’t wear posh perfume, and it’s okay if you don’t like trainers. It’s okay if you don’t read Kinfolk and it’s okay if you can’t afford Aesop skincare.
It’s okay because that’s REAL LIFE.
*IRL – IN REAL LIFE
** If you haven’t tried dulce de leche, then please don’t. You’ll be addicted.