As our cackles finally die down from sinfully enjoying the best Fyre Festival experience of all – endlessly refreshing #FyreFestival on Twitter – we’ve been considering how “Instagram-worthy experiences” are really anything but. I hold no guilt in enjoying my Fyre Festival voyeurism; I bet even the Dalai Lama hashtag lolled.
The “Instagram worthy experiences” continued this week when Bow Wow shared a pictured on the ‘gram of a private plane with the caption ‘Travel day’, until another Twitter user posted a photo of what looked like Bow Wow allegedly flying commercial that very day.
— Osama Bin Drinkin’ (@Al_Khee) May 9, 2017
Our villainous cackles began again as more hilarious people started ‘pulling a Bow Wow’ and posting pictures that made their lives seem more luxurious than they truly are.
— Antonio (@antologies) May 10, 2017
So, what are these insecurities we hold and dissatisfactions in ourselves that make us lie on social media and compare ourselves with our peers? We are programmed to project comparison on ourselves to others, whether that’s jealousy, inspiration, social (media) credibility or to feel better about our own existence.
And, it wouldn’t be the times we are living in right now if someone didn’t find a way to cash in on our insecurities. Spontana is a new app that lets you upload a selfie to a bunch of strangers, who will respond with a rating of how good looking they think you are. In their own words, “Spontana tells you more than just a mirror.”
“The role of Spontana is to satisfy your desire of getting feedback on what different people think about your current look“, says the app’s website. There’s also a top chart, where you can “observe chart leaders, contact them and use their ways of self-presentation.”
I know what you’re thinking. About time! Why wasn’t this around sooner? Honest, genuine feedback on how unattractive I am from total strangers. And a leaderboard to aspire to! What will they come up with next? What a bloody time to be alive.
The rise of the Internet and technology has brought us many things.
Instantaneous worldwide communication, access to unlimited information and social media connecting us to people and information everywhere, except from where we are now.
It was all so innocent at first – you can now speak to that granny you never see, at any time, from anywhere in the world once you both have a device and a wifi connection.
But, now that we all have both of those, we’ve spawned a comparison culture, bred from social media platforms allowing us to become the documentarians of the trivialities and highlight reels of our own lives, which as a result, appear better than they truly are. We’ve ended up a generation of adults with either non-existent or astronomic levels of self-esteem. Disappointed by reality, we observe all valuable life moments through a camera lens. Values and ideals have morphed into a fascination with beauty, money, fame or followers – scrolling for a life other than our own, with self-worth that is increasingly based entirely on validation from others in the form of a digital like.
Though it may be called social media, human interaction is at an all time low: we’re connected – but only to the Wi-Fi – disconnected to each other. Our conversations are through texts, emojis or reduced to 140 characters. Dating has become app-centric, and I already know all I need to know about your personality, it’s all there, in
black and white the Valencia filter on your Instagram page.
We are drowning in information but living in digital bubbles of our own personal fake news, living in a confirmation bias thanks to Facebook algorithms carefully curating our fake-news-feeds so we are never being exposed to anyone we disagree with, always having the beliefs we already hold being reinforced by the digital environment that we inhabit.
This means that the more you look for it, the more you’ll see it. Your social feeds are consistently showing you that you’re not as fit as him and your clothes aren’t as nice as hers, but you can run away from your problems in these Gucci loafers, you can escape from your life in this reality tv show, you can mask the smell of your failure with this Chanel perfume.
Once we’ve all got the same topping on our overnight oats and you’ve spent all your hardworking money buying that contour kit, you can upload your picture on Instagram too and impress the people you don’t like on the Internet. You’ll show them that you can keep up with a Kardashian, thank you very much.
Blogger Chiara Feraggni’s Italian rapper boyfriend, Fedez popped the question this past weekend during a packed concert then instantly uploaded the video
And once those things have been bought, and the picture has been filtered and uploaded and you’ve texted all the mates you haven’t seen in weeks to like your new picture on Instagram, you might find that the anaesthetic of your new purchase is beginning to wear off. Fret not! There’s a brand new pair of trainers or coconut water, coming soon to a social media account and shopping centre near you.
It all comes down to this device, and according to our analytics, if you’re still reading this, you are probably holding one in your hand right now, thumb on the screen, four fingers at the back and your pinky underneath for balance– a device with an apple with a bite mark taken out of it – the symbol of knowledge, immortality, temptation, and sin, and the first time humankind broke its alliance with God to become consumers.
Are you depressed from reading this yet? Well, join the ranks. Depression is at an all-time high, particularly in teens.
What do we think is there, what can be found, at the other end of a million followers or subscribers or likes?
Those who we value for having it all – the beauty, the money, the fame, the followers – are they happy? Truly happy? Is it everything you ever dreamed it would be? Not at all. Selena Gomez has spoken about her depression and it doesn’t matter that she told her story as a Vogue cover girl or that she has been the most followed person in the world on Instagram, Selena Gomez has depression. She’s not alone – Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Kid Cudi – celebrities galore are reporting mental health issues. Speaking about her mental health and Instagram in her Vogue interview, Selena said, “It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like sh*t when I look at Instagram.”
What would happen if social media went down for a few weeks? Would we all wander around the streets holding up pictures of our new shoes asking strangers DO YOU LIKE THIS? Will you follow along behind me in this Pied Piper queue of friends and spambots so everyone else knows?
I would like to have titled this Why You Don’t Need To Validate Your Self Worth On The Opinion Of Others Or The Collection Of Material Things but would you have clicked that? Ultimately, internal happiness cannot be found in possessions or from looking externally (via real or Internet fame) for self-validation. This problem or feeling of inadequacy is in you.
I don’t have the quick fix solution to round this up nicely in the ease-obsessed way we look with this kind of article. This isn’t titled 5 Experts On How To Stop Doubting The Happiness Of Your Own Life. I can tell you, that my social media is private. Whenever I come across someone in my newsfeed I followed in a moment of inadequacy, who, like the Spontana app, has or is trying to make a career on making me feel bad about myself, I’ve cleansed them from my feeds and tried to step back from any toxic cultural stimuli that makes me feel I’m not enough. I mainly get a lot of pictures of travel blogs or animal videos or food when I go looking online for a minute of escapism, and that’s a much better feeling than a wave of self-doubt.
I briefly dabbled with the idea of downloading the Spontana app and giving you, dear, valued, and gorgeous reader, a play by play of my thoughts but instead I wrote “are you f*cking kidding” into the ‘Ask Us Any Question!’ contact form on their site and went back to living my life. Which was probably the best idea.
If you are the kind of person who is hung up on what people think of you* and are definitely going to download the Spontana app, you might find some solace in this, from David Foster Wallace: “You’ll worry a lot less about what other people think of you when you realise how seldom they do.”
*Stop that! You’re class.