I came across the below article via Facebook, and have noticed more and more similar articles being shared and re-shared, highlighting how self-perception is a major, current issue amongst social media users, whilst more and more people are becoming aware. Even though I have completed my dissertation, I found that this would be great information to take forwards into Semester 3/Practice 2, in regard to my research-based practical proposal of an independent beauty/fashion magazine exploring cross-cultural trends and issues.
“Listing all the ways that it has altered our world is a fool’s errand, as is tracing all of its side-effects, but there is an argument that I will make: it has turned an entire generation into vapid narcissists.
From deceptive selfie angles that make average-looking people appear attractive, to curating your Facebook feed so it looks like you’re having more fun than you actually are, social media has taken neoliberalism’s self-centered mantra and pumped it full of cocaine-laced steroids.
All social media platforms are comprised of a mass of individuals competing against each other for followers, likes, retweets, favorites, and whichever other show of approval exists out there rather than any sort of collective goal.
Sure, this isn’t its only purpose, and plenty of benign interaction occurs without any sort of agenda, but there are masses upon masses of people who utilize it as a means of projecting an idealized version of themselves out into the world – an avatar of the person that they wish they were, rather than who they are in reality.
It’s logical that such an extreme focus on the self has a tendency to spill over into self-obsession, but this goes far beyond people taking too many photos of themselves and treating every action as a hashtagging opportunity. Every life event, however irrelevant to their social media audience, becomes a source of self-promoting content.
I doubt that anyone would be able to explain why they do it, because it’s likely a reflexive behavior: they’ve learned that sharing gets them validation, which feels good, so they continue to share. Every like and retweet gives the brain a small rush of dopamine comparable to a tiny hit of coke.
This is why people pathetically attach #tagsforlikes #likeforlikes and #likes4likes to their Instagram photos. The yearning for validation is so pronounced that it has spawned an entire exchange economy where people pimp themselves out to the world, offering to repay insincere engagement with equally insincere engagement. The sentiment doesn’t matter as long as that little ego-affirming notification bubble pops up on their screens.”