Why do we feel the need to look at other peoples lives? Somehow weve become professional stalkers, envying and hoping we could be like them while also feeling bad about ourselves.
Have you ever stopped to think how our general insecurities have increased noticeably since the emergence of social media? Just look around or ask people near you what are their biggest insecurities, and one way or another they'll somehow be linked to certain social media trend or attitude. No kidding, I did the experiment myself, and it was impressive how much importance we all give to what people post on their profiles. The interesting thing is that it happens on almost every platform, though it's more noticeable on Facebook and Instagram, and you'll see why.
But first, think about what you use social media for. For instance, I used (because it's been months since I last opened it) my Twitter to put random thoughts nobody cared about and to see what my favorite celebs and musicians were into. Facebook has always been my personal profile where I share basically everything shareable. However, in recent years, it's actually become my source of entertainment in terms of memes and funny content (I'm probably not the only one here). Then there's Instagram, lovely Instagram. Somehow I believe this is where the core of all the issue lies.
I personally use it to humbly brag about the nice things happening in my life (plus uploading photos I can put a filter on and later use it as my profile pic on Facebook), and, sadly, many use it for the same reasons. I like doing crafts so all of them go directly to my IG so that people can praise my work. I upload pictures of my vacations, parties I attend to show I'm a sociable and fun person, achievements in my professional and personal life, and of course cute pics of my dog because that assures more likes than anything else.
Now, the way I put it is an obvious way to ridicule myself, but just think about it, you do the same. Everybody uses the platform for that purpose, so the main reason is to show those highlights of our lives and prove things aren't as crappy as they might seem. We have a saying in Spanish that could be translated into, "tell me what you brag about, and I'll tell you what you're lacking of” and that's exactly what I think is the core nature of Instagram. But why are we so insecure to show our real lives?
My first guess is that we see others' profiles and feel so envious of the lives they're projecting that we want to mimic or at least make ourselves as worthy of admiration as we think these people are. We’re all hungry for attention, and these platforms have proven to be the best way to satiate that need. But at the end of the day, no matter how much effort you put in showing that enviable lifestyle, your insecurities and fears will always resurface. Because even when you’re having the life of a sybarite (or at least, if you're projecting that on your timeline), there'll always be someone with a better life.
Travels, relationships, social life, the so famous and so ridiculously harming fitspiration… all these goals are absolutely void and superficial. Yes, who doesn’t want to travel the world with the perfect partner, taste incredible food while being in a pool showing off the perfect body? I’m in, but it’s not realistic. Not even your favorite influencers and those who get paid to take these photos are living that life. It’s all very well crafted and staged that it looks fantastical, but what’s behind those photos? Just like you, a regular life you’re so keen to conceal, even if it’s probably way much better than the one you eagerly try to portray. Thus, it’s just a vicious circle of insecurities we all end up sharing, and instead of dealing with them in a healthy way, we get involved in this never-ending game.
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