- Probably not what you expect -
I recently read ‘Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life‘ by Katherine Ormerod – blogger, mom and author – and it literally changed my life. She opens up about the truth behind her social media pictures and explains the good, the bad and the ugly of Instagram and other platforms. I was shook by how real everything was and to be honest it was scary. Social Media is controlling our lives and while there are a lot of good things about it, there are A LOT of bad things. I won’t go into detail on how social media is affecting our lives, if you want to learn more about it, I just recommend you this book, it is great!
With this post, I want to get more real and show that there is a lot behind the Instagram face and the outfit pictures on this blog and every other blog that you probably read. As you can see, I don’t #Wakeuplikethis. There is a whole process happening before the finished face that everyone sees on this blog or other pictures. Nobody wants to see the pictures of the first few steps before the end product. They are too raw and real, they look just like the ID pictures that everybody hates and doesn’t want to show. There is no filter, no photoshop, no Facetune, nothing. This is the result of me going out of bed and getting ready in the morning. No smile, no expression, no flattering angle as you would do when you take a selfie for social media. As you can probably see, the light also changes as I took them in real time in the morning as it got brighter outside.
The book inspired me to share more of what happens behind and what I do to look how I look on my pictures. Nobody wakes up and looks like Gigi Hadid during the Victoria’s Secret show, not even herself. I think that we need to share more of the real stuff and not be ashamed of how we look when we don’t have makeup on or our hair not done yet. There is nothing wrong with taking pictures when you look nice and feel good about them but the intention behind them matters. Do we take these pictures for ourselves because we like the way we look or do we take them for the only purpose of sharing them on Instagram and showing other people how happy we are and how perfect we look when we get out of bed when for real we have already spent an hour in the bathroom putting on the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look and getting the camera settings right to find that perfect shot to share on the feed.
I mean it is nice to take that picture in front of the Eiffel Tower looking happy and worry-less, but what is the intention behind it? Is it just to show that you are having the best life in Paris, when in reality you don’t know how to pay your next bill? Is it to convince yourself that you can be just like your favourite star or influencer? Is it to tell your friends that you were in Paris and tick off another box on your ‘I have to go there to take a picture for my feed’ list? Or is it to really have a good time and explore a new city because YOU want to and it was on your bucket list, a trip that really means something to you? The intention behind it is important, you don’t want to look back at these pictures and think that you have lived your life just to share it with others, which to be honest, I think we all do a little bit these days. The best example is the constant filming during concerts to share it with others, why be on your phone during such a great moment and experience it all through a screen just to show others that you have been there? It is honestly frightening how many light up screens you see during a concert and people not even being there and living the once in a lifetime moment just to have it on video.
Think about all these pictures that you see when you are scrolling on your phone, are they real or is it all just posing and making others believe that we have the best time ever having all these designer clothes and everything that we need? Like it is said in the book, we get too caught up in what we see and forget about the real life behind the picture. The person can be the loneliest person, dealing with anxiety and not being happy. Maybe the person wants to convince herself that she is happy by posting the pic, she wants confirmation and by getting so many envious comments and likes she will probably start to think that she has the perfect life everybody dreams of. But what is even a perfect life? The definition is going to be completely different for me than it is going to be for the person sitting next to me than for a child living in India. Everybody starts to believe something if they hear it again and again. If a person always gets comments about how amazing her life is and how others want to live like her, she will start to believe that she has everything and think that it is the truth.
I certainly have moments where I think that my life is boring and worth nothing when I compare it with the glamorous lives of the girls on Instagram when for real, I have everything I want and need, even more; I have a loving supporting family, incredible friends, food in abundance, an amazing flat in London, enough clothes to probably change outfit every day for a year and I am healthy. I couldn’t ask for more and then there comes social media telling me that I have nothing and shows me only the things that are missing in my life. It always depends who you compare yourself to, you can choose to compare your life with the one of an influencer attending New York, London and Paris Fashion Weeks and eating at posh restaurants three times a day or you can choose to compare yourself to someone that doesn’t even have a roof over its head and has to fight every day just to survive. The perspective changes everything and I think that it is important to never forget what we already have and what really matters in life. Is it the designer bag or the love of a family and health? I let you choose but I think the answer is pretty obvious. There has always been and always will be people that are rich but the percentage is pretty low and they are probably not even happier in life, they also have their struggles and problems. You never know what happens behind that happy smile and great clothes.
I don’t want you to think that I am anti-social media, I am not at all, I love Instagram but I also know after reading the book that I have to change my relationship with it. It is not healthy to spend hours a day scrolling through feeds, watching stories and living the life of other people you don’t even know, thinking that you know everything about them and that they are your best mates. The people you follow on Instagram probably don’t even know you exist. Remember the good ol’ days, skyping with friends until 3 AM, chatting on MSN messenger, going out to meet friends to eat sweets in the parc and really socializing. Now we spend our time scrolling through their lives and seeing where they are and what they are up to by watching their stories or getting Snaps. Why would we even call them or write them if we already know everything about their lives? And when you see someone IRL you talk about the newest picture that Kim K posted of her body and that has already a million views. I am guilty of watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians but honestly who cares what they are up to? Can’t we just go back to having real conversations without having phones on the table and always checking if we have a new notification, jumping up as soon as we hear a little sound or see the screen light up. Just enjoy the moment with the other person and be there 100% without the constant distraction of your phone. I think I am safe to say that everybody takes out their phone as soon as they sit down somewhere, because you never know, you could be missing that new IG post.
I sometimes feel like I am living my life for others – the food arrives ‘oh I have to send a snap to XXX’ or ‘this looks so instagrammable, I have to take a pic’ – always thinking about what others might think and whether it will get likes or not. Food becomes art and people now choose their restaurants based on how the food looks and not what it tastes like. There are more than 975K #Avocadotoast pictures posted on Instagram, I think this says it all. Why can’t we just post what WE like and don’t care about what others might like? Is it really worth living our lives for likes and approval of people we don’t even know? I don’t have a big Instagram following at all but even with my few followers, I think about how my feed looks so I can’t imagine the pressure of someone who has a few thousands of followers. Sure it is part of this century and life changes but we can all make a little effort and change the way it is. I don’t think that social media will go away anytime soon but I really hope that it will get more real and not about sharing that perfect life and only the good snippets of our days to impress others. Everybody wants to relate to the glamorous lives but the majority of us just can’t. It just wouldn’t make sense for me to buy one designer bag after the other just to take a picture and show people that I have one when in real life I wonder if I should get that take-away coffee or not. It makes us feel bad and worthless as if we have nothing. We have to go outside and get in the real world again, talk to each other and socialize without the use of a phone or DM. We have to learn and find a healthy relationship with social media and realise that there is so much more to life than having a nice feed, thousands of likes and a huge following. We have to get back to the times where we do things because we want to do them and that really mean something to us instead of just showing the stuff to our followers and friends. Think about having just six months left to live – I know this isn’t the nicest thought but just do it for a second – now think about the things you really would like to do in this time, the things that mean something to you. I bet there are a lot of things that you saw on social media that just aren’t that important anymore.
Well, this post is already way too long! If you have carried on and made it till this point, enjoy or don’t enjoy the images. You choose but this is the reality of me getting ready; from the ‘before’ to the ‘Instagram-face’. And I would just like to thank Katherine, the author of the book to have written something so eye-opening. If everybody just gets more real and shows more of the process behind those perfect pics, it would change the future and this book is a good start. So get up and get this book, it will change the way you think about social media and hopefully your will get more conscious of the way you use the different platforms.