Ever look at someone’s Instagram and think, ‘Wow I wish I had their life?’ I know I do all too often, but then I have to remind myself that I’m only seeing one side of it – the picked the best picture out of 10, cropped and filtered version. With vast amounts of social media we have the choice to pick and choose what we want others to see. No one posts the picture of them throwing up after one to many drinks or screenshots of texts arguing with their significant other. Only the perfect smiling laughing photo that you look the cutest in. My boyfriend once said, “Snapchat is for during the party, Instagram the best picture after the party and post the rest of the pictures on Facebook the next day,” and I think he’s completely right. We rely on social media to present a filtered persona.
I read somewhere that we are in an age where people do things simply to post it online for others to see. Go to a basketball game? Gotta take a Snapchat so everyone knew you was there. Went to a party last night? Better post a picture on Instagram so everyone can see how much fun you had. Spent the winter break skiing in Aspen? A whole album will soon be devoted to it during and after the trip. My generation is motivated by likes, favorites and retweets. I have friends who complain if a picture gets less than 50 or 100 likes – sometimes even deleting it and reposting during a time more people will be likely to see it. We filter ourselves accordingly to get the highest possible response rate.
At the same time it’s not always a bad thing to have a filtered image on the internet. My parents often tell me to be careful what I post online, “because you never know who might one day look at it.” Sure enough my boss over the summer told the entire camp staff that she stalked everyone on Facebook before hiring us. She said she learned some of us had very good privacy settings and others needed to improve them, because she could guarantee parents of campers would be doing the exact same thing before sending their kids to camp and under our supervision.
So having a filtered media presence – good or bad? Both. I think it’s important to be smart on the internet and the things you post, but at the same time realizing that not everything you see is the truth. No ones life is perfect no matter how fabulous it might seem on Instagram or Facebook. Those pictures were carefully selected and altered to create an image that person felt comfortable putting out there for everyone to see.