Don't get me wrong, I love social media and probably spend way more time on Instagram than I should be. However, as an avid social media user I can't help but notice how it has changed over time and not necessarily for the best either. I don't know about anyone else, but I joined Instagram and other social media platforms to connect with my friends and family and share the things I love with them. Over time though this use of Instagram specifically seems to have gradually faded out for many users. What with a newfound love for aesthetics and being trendy as well as the "praise-me" culture and a focus on coming off as having a perfect life, this sort of intended purpose for social media is almost lost to the world now.
Over time, various social media platforms have been dominated by influencers of all kinds and the idea and wide focus on being considered aesthetic and trendy, which often these influencers are promoting in a way. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with following influencers (I do the same myself) or wanting to follow aesthetics if it's something you enjoy. The problem lies in allowing these things to completely take over your mindset and how you handle things, which also takes away from the intended purpose of social media platforms. For instance, taking an "aesthetic" or "trendy" photo and not finding any way to connect with people makes the experience less inviting for everyone involved. On a similar note, only focusing on this may also lead others to believe that this is the only way to go when it comes to posting on socials, which may also be discouraging if they feel they can't create the perfect post even though it isn't about being "perfect" in any way. Of course, I love scrolling through a feed that's coordinating and pleasing to the eye, but if you're going to do that on your pages maybe consider doing so in a way that still connects with people and brings more positivity, focusing less on perfection and more on your own expression and how you truly view things. Post in whichever way you'd like because it is your own page, but don't let the "trendy" culture completely take over how you express yourself.
On a similar note, this perfection mindset has led many social media users to only show one side of themselves, the side they believe will be the most "well-received" by others on the platform. In a way, this is harmful for all, or at least a vast majority, of social media (mostly Instagram) users because fairly often the posts they'll see will reflect the perfectionist mindset of maintaining a certain lifestyle and appearance. A lot of the time, when someone decides to post something on their page they have already seen all the flawless posts before them and are instantly entrapped by the thought that their post should look the same or similar to that one because it looked amazing and seems to be something bringing a lot of content creators happiness. Content creators and their viewers alike can both have a similar response to posts like this as they'll both believe that a good, fulfilled life is what they see on their screens: picture-perfect appearances, eating well all the time, vacationing, and always being on the go or having something to do, etc. It's easy to see a post like that and feel poorly about it, wondering why this isn't you and why their lives look perfect while you're holed up at home or wondering why they seem to always look amazing and you feel like you can't ever match that.
However, this is by no means reality for the people behind the posts you're viewing. This is a small sliver of someone's life that the public has been allowed to see, but doesn't show you what this person is truly going through in their life. Now, I'm not saying that people need to share every detail of their lives and what they're feeling with everyone online, but it's important to remember that what you're seeing online is never the full picture or story. It can be difficult to believe at times based on what you're seeing, but these people are just like you and are going through a lot of similar situations that you are, only they've turned to social media as an escape. No matter what you see online, we are all human beings with our own goals and challenges and we're all making our way through them just like the next person. Social media has been altered over time to create a dream utopia in a way, which is easy to be pulled into and to think about constantly. All I ask while we continue to use the social media platforms we love is this: please remember the initial purpose of social media -- to stay connected with the people in your life and grow with and uplift them instead of dragging people down -- and please remember that no matter what, you are beautiful and amazing. You don't need a cohesive and aesthetic feed to "prove your worth" because you are uniquely and amazingly you! Don't ever let anyone or anything erase that from your mind.
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