The readings that Madea chose for this week are so in tune with society today, and what some of the pitfalls of social media. For those who have been in class with me for a semester plus know how much stock I put into the idea of being authentic and real, no matter what space you are using to express yourself is. With how mainstream all of these social media platforms have become, in addition to the change in how one can maneuver and “game” these platforms for their own benefit, we have reached a crossroads where people are pumping out pictures and other markers to portray their lives in a certain way. Just look at this boom of “influencers” you see on the internet. From modeling to comedy to fitness demonstrations, the online space has become a medium for people to advertise and run businesses on these interfaces. Personally, on the influencer front, I cannot lie. I kind of envy some of these people. Take Youtube sensation Pewdie Pie. His entire claim to fame is streaming himself playing Call of Duty at an elite level. Channels such as this were the genesis of what internet marketing and influencing would become. With more and more money being spent by large corporations on internet advertising, many others are attempting to get in on this. This is where I think “selfie culture” began to take shape. In order to take advantage of getting these types of ads on your page, you first need to garner a following. The best way to do that, it seems, is to constantly post vanity on your pages. For people to want to make that type of leap, they need to give an appearence that connects with the demographic and audience they are trying to attract. However, and I believe this is the idea that the Sage article was driving home, is people who are partaking in this culture and growing into being an influencer did not start there. Social Media has created a climate where people are putting out the best version of themselves. More times than not, it is a doctored image (literally and figuratively) that they are putting out into the world. Today, everything is about being perceived as being rich, happy, and in love, or so it seems as I scroll through my instagram feed. I find it fascinating that this is how an entire generation is to feel their self worth is attached to this idea of social media. How many likes, shares, replies we get on a photo or tweet makes us feel as though we are doing something right and people want to see it. The psycology is concerning to me because we now have a seemingly infinite amount of people who are so focused on putting out a particular image that is not them, it leaves room for others to be dissapointed when meeting them in person, or a level of surprise when you see them outside of their filtered reality and they seem to going to the beat of a different drum. I know we are going to have a fun discussion about this in our class this week.
I want to briefly touch upon the article that spoke about filters. Filters, in my opinion, are a symptom of a much larger issue. Back to the idea of having a doctored reality, filters are an accomplice in creating a culture of perceived perfection. They are a vehicle that allows people to put out an image of the way they want to be seen, which not be totally in line with how they actually are or look. Again, I take pride in being very open and honest on my social media as I am in real life. I would rather people be upset with me for being me than liking me for something that I am just trying to put out there for the public to see. Unfortunately, I seem to be an outlier in this newly constructed world of likes and comments. Being considered a millennial, I have more than a couple friends and contemporaries who are too obsessed with their online persona. It bothers me when I see one of my friends putting on a show for his followers, because, in most cases, it strays so far away from the things that made me become friends with that person in the first place. Sad.
PS: They now have video tutorials for taking instagram pictures for your friends!